Asia, a land of wonders - these are my thoughts, experiences and travel tips from SE Asia

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thailand Golden mount Wat Saket temple

Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan
วัดสระเกศราชวรมหาวิหาร (short name is Wat Saket) is a Buddhist temple or Wat in Pom Prap Sattru Phai district, Bangkok, Thailand.

The temple is not far from Sanam Luang and the Wat PraKaew, it is a walking distance.

Also not far from this temple the famous street lays: Soi KhaoSan.

The temple dates back to Ayutthaya era, when it was called Wat Sakae.

King Rama I renovated the temple and renamed it to Wat Saket. Phu Khao Thong (Golden mountain, ภูเขาทอง) is a steep hill inside the Wat Saket compound. It is not a natural outcrop, but an artificial hill. During the reign of King Rama III (1787–1851) the decision was made to build a Chedi of huge dimensions to add to the Wat Saket temple.

However, the large Chedi collapsed during the construction process because the soft soil beneath would not support it. The resulting mud-and-brick hillock was left alone for about half a century, taking the shape of a natural hill and becoming overgrown with weeds. Since then it looked like a natural small mountain it received its name of "Phu Khao" (ภูเขา) at that time. Finally under King Rama IV, a small Chedi was built on the hilltop. This smaller structure was finished under King Rama V (1853–1910), when a Buddha relic from India was housed in the Chedi.

In the 1940s the surrounding concrete walls were built to prevent the hill from eroding. The Wat Saket was built in the early 20th century of Carrara marble. There is an important festival at Wat Saket every November that includes a beautiful candlelight procession up Phu Khao Thong.

This festival is Loy Krathong which is celebrated all around Thailand but this temple has a nice festivity going on at that time.

 Phu Khao Thong has become a popular tourist attraction in Bangkok, but the rest of the Wat Saket temple area is much less visited.

 Good to know: 
* Go before 5:00 PM as the temple closes for visitors.
* Entrance fee is 10 BHT (as of 2011) but giving a bit more would be good.
* Good place for taking photos of the city.

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