Phra Sri Ratana Chedi

Phra Sri Ratana Chedi

Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha is regarded as the most sacred temple in Thailand. The “emerald” colored Buddha was carved from a single jade stone in a mediating posture. It is quite small, only 26 inches, sitting atop massive, intricate gold works. Today he was wearing a white cloak representing winter, one of his three outfits for the seasons, the others being for summer and the rainy season. Photography is not allowed in this holy temple. Golden Garuda, a mythical half-bird and half man, holding a Naga, a serpent, circle the exterior of this wat. Other interesting characters to be found within the temple complex include Yakshi, giants who guard the exits;Tantima, a bird guarding Viharn Yod; and Kinnon, a half-bird and half man. Ramkien statues hold up the Golden Chedi. Other buildings include Phra Sri Ratana Chedi, a shiny gold nineteenth century stupa built in the Sri Lanken style; Phra Mondop, the library; and a model of Angkor Wat, the most sacred of all Cambodian shrines. Nine towers, I learned, represent the nine planets. The compound walls depict 178 scenes from Ramakian, the Thai national epic. Amateur photographers like me had a field day in this sacred spot.

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