Wat Pho , Bangkok


Wat Pho , also spelt Wat Po , is a Buddhist temple complex in the Phra Nakhon District , Bangkok , Thailand . It is on Rattanakosin Island , directly south of the Grand Palace . Known also as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha , its official name is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn .


The more commonly known name , Wat Pho is a contraction of its older name Wat Photaram . The temple is first on the list of six temples in Thailand classed as the highest grade of the first-class royal temples . It is associated with King Rama I who rebuilt the temple complex on an earlier temple site and became his main temple where some of his ashes are enshrined .


The temple was later expanded and extensively renovated by Rama III . The temple complex houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand , including a 46 m long reclining Buddha . The temple was also the earliest centre for public education in Thailand , and houses a school of Thai medicine . It is known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced at the temple .


Wat Pho is one of Bangkok's oldest temples . It existed before Bangkok was established as the capital by King Rama I . It was originally named Wat Photaram or Podharam , from which the name Wat Pho is derived . The name refers the monastery of the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya , India where Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment . The older temple is thought to have been built or expanded some time in the reign of King Phetracha (1688–1703) of the Ayuthaya period on an even earlier temple site, but its founder is unknown .


After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese , King Taksin moved the capital to Thonburi where he located his palace beside Wat Arun on the opposite side of the river from Wat Pho , and the proximity of Wat Pho to this royal palace elevated it to the status of a wat luang . In 1782, King Rama I moved the capital from Thonburi across the river to Bangkok and built the Grand Palace adjacent to Wat Pho .


In 1788 , he ordered the construction and renovation at the old temple site of Wat Pho , which had by then become dilapidated . The site, which was marshy and uneven , was drained and filled in before construction began . During its construction Rama I also initiated a project to remove Buddha images from abandoned temples in Ayutthaya , Sukhothai , as well other sites in Thailand , and many of these Buddha images were kept at Wat Pho .


These include the remnants of an enormous Buddha image from Ayuthaya's Wat Phra Si Sanphet destroyed by the Burmese in 1767 , and these were incorporated into a chedi in the complex . The rebuilding took over seven years to complete , and 12 years after work began , in 1801 , the new temple complex was renamed Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklavas in reference to the vihara of Jetavana , and became the main temple for Rama I .


King Rama III began renovating and enlarging the temple complex, a process that took 16 years and seven months to complete. The ground of the temple complex was expanded to 22 acres, and most of the structures in Wat Pho were either built or rebuilt in this period, including the chapel of the reclining Buddha. He also turned the temple complex into a public center of learning by decorating the walls of the buildings with diagrams and inscriptions on various subjects. These marble inscriptions have received recognition in the Memory of the World Programme launched by UNESCO on 21 February 2008.[16] Wat Pho is regarded as Thailand’s first university and a center for traditional Thai massage .


Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest wats in Bangkok with an area of 50 rai, 80,000 square metres, and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images, as well as one of the largest single Buddha images at 150 feet (46 m) in length.[21] The Wat Pho complex consists of two walled compounds bisected by Chetuphon Road running in the east–west direction. The larger northern walled compound, the phutthawat, is the part open to visitors and contains the finest buildings dedicated to the Buddha, including the bot with its four directional viharn, and the temple housing the reclining Buddha .

Wat Pho
Address: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Contact : +66 2 225 9595
Hours : 8.30AM - 6.30PM

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