Thailand has finally (mostly) reopened and it is once again time to see this stunning country in Southeast Asia. There are scores of things to see and do in incredible Thailand and visiting its many exotic temples is certainly one of the musts. Thailand's beaches are world-famous (both their best and their worst beaches) as are their Sin Cities.
One of the most famous monuments is the Wat Arun temple in Bangkok. Nothing in Southeast Asia may be able to compete with the incredible must-see temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. But still, Wat Arun is a magnificent work of art that is decorated in exquisite workmanship.
About Wat Arun
The full name of Wat Arun is "Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan" in Thai spelled as "วัดอรุณราชวราราม ราชวรมหาวิหาร" that translates to "Temple of Dawn". It is a Buddhist temple with the name "Arun" coming from the Hindu god "Aruna".
- Location: In Bangkok
- Built: Initial Temple Before 1656, Main Prang Before 1851
Wat Arun is a missile-shaped temple. It gained its "þrahng" when the capital and the Emerald Buddha were moved to Bangkok. The temple is dominated by its massive Khmer-style tower called "þrahng" which rises 82 meters.
It is one of the best-known of Thailand's many landmarks. It is considered one of the most beautiful of all the temples in Thailand with the prang being one of Bangkok's most iconic landmarks. It is not all that old, having been built in the early nineteenth century during the reigns of Rama II and Rama III.
Decoration And Interior Of Wat Arun
The temple has ornate floral mosaics made from broken multi-hued Chinese porcelain. It was common in that period to decorate the temples with Chinese porcelain. Oddly enough it was collected as the port of Bangkok as the Chinese ships would discard tons of old porcelain as ballast.
The central "Prang" is also coated with colorful porcelain and seashells. At its corners, it is surrounded by four smaller satellite "prangs". There is symbolism everywhere with the central prang symbolizing Mount Meru from Hindu cosmology. The satellite prang is dedicated to the wind god called Phra Phai.
- Decorated: With Old Broken Chinese Porcelain and Seashells
On the top of the central prang is a seven-pronged trident that according to some sources is the Trident of Shiva. Then around the base are figures of ancient Chinese soldiers and animals. In accordance with Buddhist iconography, the central prang has three symbolic levels.
- Base: The Traiphum - Denotes All the Realms of Existence
- Middle: The Tavatimsa - Refers to Where All Desires Are Gratified
- Top: The Devaphum - Indicates Six Heavens Within Seven Realms Of Happiness
As one goes into the temple, into its ordination hall, one will see the golden Buddha image as well as the detailed murals that adorn the walls. The Buddha image is supposedly designed by Rama II himself. Then there is the grand altar that is decorated in red, grey, and white marble. Two sculptures of mythical giant demons or temple guardian figures stand guardian in the front. They are called Thotsakan and Sahatsadecha.
- Thotsakan: Is The King Of The Demons of Lanka. He Has Ten Faces and Twenty Arms and has Many Weapons
- Sahatsadecha: He is Generally A Benevolent Nature-Spirit That Acts As a Caretaker
Visiting The Temple
As the temple is inside Bangkok, it is very easy to reach. One should plan on spending at least one hour visiting the temple. Despite being called the Temple of the Dawn, it is also magnificent at sunset as well - but there are fewer grounds in the morning.
- Climbing: One Can Climb The Steep Stairs To The Top
There are steep stairs leading to the top from where there are stunning views of the Chao Phraya River. According to Hotels.com, one can climb the central prang to the top. Remember that the steps are very steep - although there is a railing to assist the climbers. And remember that getting down is tricky as well.
- Tip: Dress Respectfully
This is an active temple and so it is important for the worship of Buddhists. Tourists should be respectful and dress appropriately. There are also cover-ups for rent at the entrance if one is dressed too revealingly.
Tours Of Wat Arun
There are many tours of the temples and palaces in Bangkok. One tour - Private: Three Temples Bangkok City Tour offers tours of three of the must-see temples Wat Traimit, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun (as well as some other sights in the city.
This is a great tour for first-timers and one will learn all about the culture and religion of Thailand.
- Duration: 3-4 Hours
- Temples: Wat Traimit, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun
- Cost: From $70