Grand Visit to the Grand Palace (Part 2): A Quick Peek at the Emerald Buddha

Every nation has its own national treasure. A precious item whose lost will cause grief to all citizens of the land. Thailand has one national treasure and I got a chance to take a short look at it. What am I talking about? Well, the answer is from two years ago when I visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

I previously posted about my little adventure en route to the Grand Palace. It was a journey that placed me in a crowded boat and even in a street crowded with vendors. That’s why it’s a big relief when I entered the palace gates. Finally, a big space of greenery!

Outer Court of Bangkok Grand Palace
"Keep off the grass" na lang ang kulang.

The Grand Palace of Thailand is formerly the residence of the king of Thailand. I said formerly because the king now resides in Chitralada Palace, which outside of the Grand Palace complex.This only meant that I will never ever fulfill one of my goals for my Thailand visit, which is to meet and greet the King of Thailand.

The Grand Palace is a complex composed of many buildings, the important of which are the royal temples and the royal residences. I went to the royal temples first.

Royal temples of Bangkok Grand Palace

Just like any tourist spot in Thailand, I had to go to the ticket office first before I could proceed to the main palace and the royal temples.

Ticket office in Bangkok Grand Palace

I paid a total of 500 Baht to get a ticket that entitled me to visit the Grand Palace, the temple of the Emerald Buddha, royal museum, coin museum, and the throne hall.

Description of admission ticket to Bangkok Grand Palace

Tourists should be mindful of some of the rules inside the Grand Palace complex. One of such rules is about the prohibited outfits inside the Grand Palace.

Prohibited clothing in Bangkok Grand Palace

The palace guards are strict when it comes to dress code so following this rule is highly recommended. Fortunately, a booth was set up near the entrance where inappropriately dressed tourist can borrow skirts and pants.  I wore my usual attire of pants and t-shirt that day so I didn’t need to go to that booth.

Road to the temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok Grand Palace
The way to the royal temples.

The guards at the entrance of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha checked my ticket, checked my clothes, and checked my bags. They’re quite strict, which is good because they’re guarding their national treasure.

The Hermit Doctor welcomed my entry to the temple grounds.

Statue of Shivagakomarpaj in Bangkok Grand Palace

The hermit doctor is Shivagakomarpaj, who was the doctor of Buddha and considered as the father of Thai massage/medicine.1

The temple grounds are filled with familiar images from Buddhist, Hindu, and Thai myths. The two demon guards in Wat Arun also made their appearance in Grand Palace.

Crowd in Bangkok Grand Palace
Sahatsadecha failing big time in guarding the Grand Palace from "intruders".

The lower demons were present too and, yes, they also carry the temple on their backs.

Demons carrying the temple in Bangkok Grand Palace

Similar to my visit to Wat Arun, my eyes feasted on Thai artistry which is dominated with gold. Almost everything in the temple grounds are golden. Even the prangs flanking the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is golden from top to bottom.

Golden temple in Bangkok Grand Palace

Even the miniature version of the Angkor Wat Temple is present on the temple grounds.

Miniature Angkor Wat in Bangkok Grand Palace

This is perfect for people like me who cannot go to Cambodia.

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha was built at same time as the royal residences. Its purpose is not only for housing the Emerald Buddha but also the temple where the King and the royal family can worship in private.

Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok Grand Palace

The origin of the Emerald Buddha is not known. One legend says that in 1434, the statue was discovered in a temple in Chiangrai province of Northern Thailand province which was struck by a lightning. The Emerald Buddha went to hands of the King Chiangmai after staying some time in Lampang.

Golden statues in Bangkok Grand Palace

The King of Chiangmai had no son but his daughter is married to the King of Laos. Thus his throne was inherited by the his grandson who became the new king of Laos. The new king brought the statue to Laos. Years later, Burma attacked Laos and the Emerald Buddha was taken to Vientiane (in Laos) where it stayed for 214 years.

Temple of Emerald Buddha in Bangkok Grand Palace

The Emerald Buddha finally reached its resting place when it was captured by King Rama I, who is the great-great grandfather of the current King, and then brought to Bangkok. From that day on, the Emerald Buddha became Thailand’s national treasure.2

Emerald Buddha in Bangkok Grand Palace

It’s good that the Thais are generous enough to allow foreigners to see their national treasure. I was fortunate enough to take a short peek. I don’t believe in Buddha but I’m amazed with the way the Thais (and even some foreigners) revere the statue.

No one knows if the Emerald Buddha will stay in Bangkok forever. What’s sure, however, is that many Thais will mourn if that statue will be taken away from them.

Travel Notes:

1. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is one of the most important places in Thailand. That’s why it is imperative for all tourists to follow the rules and respect their belief even if you’re not a Buddhist.

2. Wear modest clothing as required by the rules. A booth is located near the entrance where anyone can borrow skirts and pants. You just need to leave some money and your passport as surety.

3. Don’t believe the touts who will tell you that the Grand Palace is closed. That is their modus so as to trick would-be Grand Palace visitors in joining their “tour” to various shops around Bangkok where they have a cut from purchases made by their victims.

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Some information in this post were obtained from the following sources:

1. Thai Massage History and Context from Earth Dance Healing Arts.
2. History of the Emerald Buddha from Bangkok Magazine.
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5 comments:

  1. I always tell my friends that once they visited these grounds, they need not see any more temples. I didn't know it was 500 baht now. I remember a friend walking through the Thai channel and she was not stopped since we all look like them. It was free for the locals. I paid 200 baht, and that was many years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prices are going up and the tourist spots of Thailand are not exempted. Masaya yung friend mo ah at nakalusot siya.

      Delete
    2. Baka next year tataas na naman presyo niyan.

      Delete
  2. Oh still blogging about Bangkok? I thought you have finished all your Bangkok posts already haha!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, the answer is YES. :-(

      I guess your prophecy came true.

      Delete

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