In Thailand being a Buddhist country, temples play an important role in everyday life for Thai people. People go to the temple for merit making, prey to the Buddha for things such as good health, good fortune and wealth and to seek advice from monks. It is customary for young boys to ordain as a monk and live in the temple for a while, some for a short time, some for longer.It is believed that Buddhism was introduced to Thailand about 2,200 years ago when the emperor of India, Ashoka the Great, send monks to a great number of countries including Thailand to spread Buddhism. Nowadays, the vast majority of Thai people is Buddhist.
Although Thai temples area called “Wat”, meaning temple, this term refers to the temple complex consisting of various buildings like the Ubosot (ordination hall), the Viharn where important Buddha images are kept and a Chedi, where Buddhist relics are enshrined.There are literally tens of thousands of Buddhist temples in Thailand, most of which are active. More than 200 have been given the status of Royal Temple, which are divided by importance into first, second and third class. The most important and sacred temple in Thailand is the Wat Phra Kaew temple, located on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. This temple holds the emerald Buddha, the most sacred and revered Buddha image in Thailand.
6 Temple of the highest grade of the first class Royal Temples
Some of the most important and best known temples are located in the capital Bangkok, such as the Wat Pho (the temple of the Reclining Buddha), the Wat Arun (the temple of Dawn), the Wat Mahathat and the Wat Suthat.Outside Bangkok the Wat Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom and the Wat Phra Phutthabat (the temple of the Buddha’s footprint) in Saraburi are the temples of the highest importance. These six temples are of the highest grade of the first class Royal Temples.Apart of being of great spiritual and social importance, Thai temples are among the most beautiful, impressive structures to be found. Temples of many different architectural styles can be found in Thailand; the Lanna temples of Northern Thailand look very different from the Rattanakosin temples in Bangkok or from the Khmer style temples of North Eastern Thailand.Thai temples are beautifully, ornately decorated and very colorful buildings in various sizes and architectural styles. Inside a Thai temple you will find very huge and small Buddha images and magnificent mural paintings showing tales from the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Indian epic Ramayana or from the Jataka, the stories telling about the previous lives of the Buddha.
Because the temples are sacred places of great importance to Thai people, please dress appropriately when visiting a temple. Always take off your shoes before going inside a temple and wear long pants or a sarong like long dress, covered shoulders and long sleeved shirts.While traveling in Asia, you will often hear people say that they are ‘templed out.’ Whether they have visited the famous Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia or have explored the northern temples of Thailand in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, travelers may start to feel that ‘if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.’ This is not the case, however, for some of Bangkok’s most jaw-dropping ancient temples, which invariably leave visitors in awe. Here, we profile six of these must-see temples in Bangkok.
Wat Pho:-The oldest and largest temple in Bangkok, Wat Pho is, quite possibly, one of the most famous temples in all of Thailand. This temple is oftentimes referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha because of the 46-meter long, 15-meter high Buddha that sits at this temple’s core. It is located just south of the Royal Grand Palace, and you can spend an entire day exploring this ancient historical area. In addition to the giant Buddha, the temple grounds are decorated with beautiful treasures that are well worth exploring. And you can even reboot with one of the healing Thai massages offered on sight, which are both high-quality and fairly inexpensive.
Wat Arun:-Wat Arun, or Temple of the Dawn, consists of five prangs, or towers, overlooking the Mae Nam Chao Praya. The reclining Buddha, which can now be seen at Wat Pho, resided first in Wat Arun. It is said that King Taksin and his royal fleet came upon this temple at dawn. He then designated the temple as a royal one. It is possible for visitors to climb a little ways up the main prang, which is decorated with ceramic tiles and colorful pieces of porcelain.
Wat Saket:-Wat Saket, or Temple of the Golden Mount, sits atop an artificial hill, from which the large city of Bangkok looks almost tranquil. Inside the ordination hall of Wat Saket you will find a number of Buddhist paintings. This temple is most famous for the Golden Mount that rises high above the rest of the temple grounds. You can climb the Golden Mount, but be aware that it is a rather long way up in Bangkok’s inevitable heat. There is also a chapel and library open to visitors on these historic grounds. Admission is free.
Wat Suthat:-Many identify Wat Suthat with the giant red swing that sits just across the road. The Giant Swing, or Sao Ching-Cha, dates back to 1784, but it was replaced in 2004. In addition to this swing, the temple itself has some striking wall murals and eye-catching architecture.
Wat Traimit:-Located in Chinatown is Wat Traimit. Inside, you will find a six-ton, solid gold Buddha statue, which is what makes this temple a must-see on any visit to Bangkok. It is the biggest golden statue in the world, measuring 3 meters in height. It is said that the current value of this statue is more than $250 million. There is a ฿40 entrance fee.
Wat Ratchanatdaram:-Wat Ratchanatdaram was built for Rama III back in the 1840s. Its architecture and design are said to have roots in the metal temples of India and Sri Lanka. The 36-meter-tall structure that sits in the middle of the temple grounds is said to signify the 37 virtues toward enlightenment in Buddhism, a religion practiced by 95 percent of the country. The roof is made of bronze tiles, and the temple is one of only a few in the world with this type of roof. Admission is free.