Adventures of a LuLu

Mischief and Mayhem in East Asia

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Steer away from the beaten track and leave a trail for others to follow.

23.10.05

Wat Arun.

Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn (so- called because the King arose at that time to pray), was the first temple I visited in Thailand, on my first full day in Bangkok. To get there I took a boat on the choppy, dirty waters of the Chao Phraya river, and disembarked on the other side. On the way back my tour guide gave the group some bread, which we broke into smaller pieces to feed the cat fish. I repeated the feeding of the fish on the 18 day tour, which I have photographs of....somewhere...to be published later.

Also, it was at this temple that I was accosted by a group of primary school children and their teacher, who interviewed me. In return I got a chop-stick hair piece, which after some amount of huffing and puffing, actually holds up my hair in a Japanese-style bun.

The information below I got from the Thailand for Visitors website.

The towering prang with its four smaller siblings was started by Rama II in the early part of the 19th century, and completed by his successor Rama III. The temple in which the prang sits is actually much older. It dates from the Ayuthaya period. During King Taksin's reign, just before the founding of Bangkok, the temple served as his palace.

The prang is not only in its design, which is a blend of Khmer and Thai styles, but also in decoration. Over the brick core, a layer of plaster was applied and then decorated with bits of Chinese porcelain and glazed ceramic tiles. Using porcelain from China isn't as extravagant as it might sound. In the early days of Bangkok, Chinese trading ships calling on the Siamese capital used tons of porcelain as ballast. The temple is just an early example of the Thai approach to "recycling."

Like the bell shaped chedi, the central Prang represents Mount Meru, home of the gods. The four smaller prangs symbolize the four winds. High up on the four smaller towers, you can see a statue of Pai, god of the winds, on his horse.

In the middle of each side of the square formed by the smaller prangs are pavilions containing Buddha images depicting the four stages of the Buddha's life, birth, meditation, preaching and enlightenment. These guard the stairways to the second and third levels of the big prang.

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