Wat Arun
Wat ArunWat Arun

This monumental 86meter Khmerstyle prang, one of Thailand's largest religious monuments, towers above the Chao Praya to form Bangkok's most impressive and famous land mark. Wat Arun was constructed by Rama II on the site of a former royal temple which once held the precious Emerald Buddha. Despite problems of erecting such a massive structure on the city's swampy soil, Rama III finally com pleted the complex in 1842. Rama IV added the final touch: thousands of multiglazed Chi nese porcelains donated by Buddhist devotees.

The present king donates new robes to the resident monks on the occasion of the Tod Kathin Festival, a meritmaking ceremony for merly done downriver from the Grand Palace in royal barges.

Better known as the Temple of the Dawn, Wat Arun symbolically represents the Buddhist universe, with its tridentcapped central tower indicating Mt. Merti and the four smaller towers depicting the four woridly oceans. The central prang is intersected by four door niches with the god Indra riding his threeheaded white elephant. Other figures include the moon god on his white horse and illustrations of the four most important episodes from the life of Buddha: birth, meditation under a protective naga, ser mon to the five ascetics, and entry into nirvana. Visitors can make the steep climb up to the midway point for views over the Chao Praya and Thonburi.

Located on the grounds are several other worthwhile buildings. The hot in the northwest comer features four unusual chedis and interior murals which depict the life of Buddha. A re stored mondop between the hot and viham con tains a Buddha footprint and twin towers used as belfries. The viham behind the primary chedi contains a silver and gold Sukothai image brought back from Vientiane by
Rama II.

Wat Arun is accessible by shuttle boat from the Tha Tien Pier behind Wat Po. Open daily 0800-1700. Admission is B20.

Wat Arun Wat Arun
Wat Arun Wat Arun