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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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October 9, 2014

wat pho: bangkok's temple of the reclining buddha

Reclining Buddha

Thailand never seem to ran out of beautiful wats or temples to visit. One such notable temple in Bangkok is Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It is situated right next to the Grand Place so it a perfect place to head to after visiting the Grand Palace, or in our case, after we did not make the 3PM cut-off for visitors to the palace.

Our first stop after a few days in Chiang Mai was the palace, unfortunately we only made it up to the gate. The day was far from over and a quick check of the map in my phone showed a wat nearby, so off we went. I honestly was not aware of the significance of Wat Pho (you can attribute that to the lack of research), and was pleasantly surprised of what we saw there (sometimes less research is good!)

Wat Facade

Reclining Buddha

Reclining Buddha

I've seen images of the Reclining Buddha in some of the temples in Chiang Mai, but certainly not one as huge as this. Its 15 meters high and 43 meters long, resting on two box pillows made of blue glass mosaic.

Back details

Back details
Buddha resting on box pillows

Everything, from the walls to the ceiling, to Buddha's box pillows are full of intricate details. Buddha's feet, measuring 3 meters high by 4.5 meters long, are invalid with mother-of-pearl. The feet has 108 panels that displays auspicious symbols of the Buddha like flowers and white elephants.

Reclining Buddha - Full length

Temple grounds

Like most wats, Wat Pho's complex consist of various structures. There two walled compounds - the northern compound is where the reclining Buddha is as well the massage school (Wat Pho is considered to be the birthplace of traditional Thai massage), while the southern compound is where the monastery is.

Smaller chedis
Chedi Rai

Within the complex are 91 chedis, four viharas (worship halls), and a central shrine (bot). The complex is also home to more than 1000 Buddha images.

Ornate Roof
ornate roof of one of the viharas

Tower details
richly decorated chedi

Chedis of the Chakri Kings

My favorite structures in Wat Pho aside from the Reclining Buddha are the four chedis dedicated to the Chakri kings. These are quite hard to miss due to their large sizes.  Its best to stick around for the twilight to really appreciate their beauty. While the temple admission ceases at 6PM, you can stay a bit longer for the "blue hour" when the chedis are lit and their golden color contrast beautifully with the sky.

Chedis of the Chakri Kings

Chedis of the Chakri Kings

Wat Arun - Temple of Dawn, a glimpse

While on the subject of beautiful chedis during the blue hour, you may also want to catch a glimpse of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) from across the Chao Praya river. There is a small park outside Wat Pho (and right beside the ferry terminal) where you can enjoy the view.

Wat Arun
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