If you are planning a trip to Bangkok, remember to put the temple of Wat Traimit onto your itinerary. It is one of the most important landmarks of Bangkok and Thailand in general.
Notwithstanding the city of Bangkok has many temples, Wat Traimit is a special place that attracts a massive amount of tourists every year. It is known worldwide for its enormous solid-gold Buddha statue as well as its stunning architecture.
Architecture and history of Wat Traimit
The temple is located in the center of Bangkok on Traimit street in the Chinese district, which is just 450 meters away from the central railway station.
Wat Traimit is a large, magnificent temple in the middle of Bangkok’s capital. All of the walls and pillars are paved with white, shiny marble. The white background makes the golden roofs even more appealing and stands out. In general, the whole temple is a harmonious combination of colors and architecture.
The 1st floor of the building displayed the Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center. It’s a small but engaging museum with multimedia exhibits on the history of Bangkok’s Chinatown and its residents. Meanwhile, the 2nd floor is home to the Phra Buddha Maha Suwanna Patimakorn Exhibition, which has explained how the statue was made.
Just looking from the outside, visitors sometimes mistake Wat Traitmit for the Temple of Emerald Buddha in the Grand Place of Bangkok because of its shiny golden appearance. Moreover, what makes Wat Tramit so unique is the Golden Statue right in the temple’s main hall.
Statue of the famous Golden Buddha
The most attraction at Wat Traimit is undoubtedly the impressive 3m tall, 5.5 tonne Golden Buddha Statue.
History of the Statue
No one knows the exact date the statue was created but to examination by scientists, the Golden Status was made approximately 700 years ago in the period of Sukhothai.
In the 18th century, the Burmese were notorious for stealing and melting the gold of the nations they conquered. In 1767, during the Burmese-Siamese War, the Siamese covered the Golden Buddha with terra-cotta and colored glass to hide its golden color. Fortunately, the protection was effective. Despite the Burmese melting much of the gold from the Kingdom, the Golden Buddha remained intact but also its true value has remained unknown for centuries.
At some point in the early 1800s, the statue was moved to Bangkok and located in a temple that was later in disrepair and closed.
In 1935, the Thai transferred the Golden Buddha to its current home in Wat Traimit – a small unnoticed temple at the time. Due to a lack of space, the statue was stored in a normal building with a simple tin roof.
The reveal of the Golden Buddha Statue in Wat Traimit
Buddhists and many Thailanders believe that the creation, preservation, and discovery of the Golden Buddha were all signs of its miraculous nature. The people of Thailand share two stories of what happened to the Golden Buddha to unlock its true beauty in 1955.
In the 1950s, the golden statue needed to move from the tin roof to a new building. While attempting to move the statue to its place, the rope gave out and the golden statue fell to the concrete floor. It was accidentally damaged and revealed gold glinting inside.
The other account of what happened to the golden statue claims that it was heavily raining when the movers transferred it. They tried to shelter the statue with umbrellas and tarpaulins but the strong wind blew it all away. In the morning, the rain and mud had washed away the covering, and the true value of the statue appeared.
The sculpture is a treasure to Thailand people and the community of Buddism. The value of the statue is inestimable: the whites of the statue’s eyes are made of pearl and the pupils are black sapphires. The statue is the biggest golden statue of Buddha in the world with a weight of 5500 kg and a height of about 3 meters. Furthermore, the piece of terra-cotta that covered the statue of Buddha is still exposed to the public in the temple.
Tickets and other practicalities
The ticket to enter Wat Traimit to see just the Golden Buddha is 40 Baht per person (1.04 USD).
The museum will cost an additional 100 Baht per person (2.60 USD).
The temple is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day, but the museum closes every Monday.
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