A brief history and guide to Wat Phra Kaew of Bangkok.

Discover more about the world-famous temple of Emerald Buddha.

The temple of Emerald Buddha, or as it is locally called Wat Phra Sri RattanaSatsadaram, is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand. Located in the historic centre of Bangkok, Wat Phra Kaew is situated in the royal Grand Palace. It enshrines the revered Emerald Buddha, which is said to be carved from a single piece of jade. The Emerald Buddha is in a meditative position and is styled in the Lanna school of the northern part of Thailand.


The Thai Grand Palace has constructed in the year 1782, and by the year 1785, the construction for the temple of Emerald Buddha started. The temple was commenced by King Rama I, also known as King Buddha YodfaChulaloke. It was during this time the capital of Thailand was shifted from Thonburi to Bangkok. That is the reason why there was a need for a new royal residence. This shift also marks the beginning of the Chakri dynasty, which was founded by King Rama I.

What makes Wat Phra Kaew different from other temples?

Most of the temples in Thailand are living quarters of monks, but that is not the case with Wat Phra Kaew. The temple is used to house many sacred objects and buildings. There is an array of intricate paintings, pagodas, and elaborate carvings throughout the temple. You can spend hours just strolling and exploring these details in the temple.

The Emerald Buddha.

The Emerald Buddha resides inside the main building of the Wat, commonly known as Ubosot, or the ordination hall. The Phra Kaew Morakot or the Emerald Buddha is decorated with clothing made out of real gold. Though it is called the Emerald Buddha, many still believe that it is made up of a single piece of jade. Like most of us, everyone has a different story and legend about where the Emerald Buddha originally came from. Some believe that the statue was originated somewhere in Sri Lanka, while others believe that it was created in 43 BC in Patliputra (modern-day Patna) in India. The revered Buddha resides at the multiple platforms above the ground and could be seen from even doorway. Even though the Buddha statue is just two feet tall, but its influence and reverence in the Thai people is astounding. No one is allowed to touch or get close to the Buddha other than the Thai monarch. The king changes Buddha’s cloak three times a year.

So, have you seen the famous Emerald Buddha?

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