Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok
The Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.
It is located in the historic center of Bangkok within the grounds of the Grand Palace. The construction of the temple started when King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I) moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok in 1787.
Unlike other temples it does not contain living quarters for monks. The main building is the central ubosoth, which houses the Emerald Buddha. In the Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok there are three main doors used to enter the temple, however only the King and Queen are allowed to enter through the center door.
Even though it is small in size it is the most important icon for Thai people.
Legends hold that the famous statue, made of jade, originated in India, but it first surfaced in Cambodia and was given as a gift to the King of Ayutthaya in A.D. 1434.
The statue disappeared from history when Burmese raiders sacked Ayutthaya and the image was feared lost.
A century later the Emerald Buddha reappeared in Chiang Saen, after a rainstorm washed away some of its plaster covering.
The Emerald Buddha was then moved to Chiang Rai, then Chiang Mai, where it was removed by the Laotian prince Setthathirath to Luang Prabang, when his father died and he ascended the throne of both Lanna and Lan Xang in A.D. 1547.
In later years Emerald Buddha was moved to Vientiane. It remained in Vientiane for nearly 300 years until King Taksin of Thonburi brought it back with him after invading the Lao lands to Thonburi when he expanded his kingdom into outer regions in 1787.
The Emerald Buddha was then taken to Bangkok where it is resides today.
The wall surrounding the temple area from the outside only a plain white wall is painted inside with scenes from the Thai version of the Ramayana mythology, the Ramakian. Several statues in the temple area resemble figures from this mythology, most notably the giants.
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