Unseen Bangkok Sightseeing

Sep 2, 2014

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Unseen Bangkok Sightseeing” heading_tag=”h1″ alignment=”center” spacer=”line_with_icon” spacer_position=”bottom” spacer_img_width=”48″ line_style=”solid” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#333333″ icon_type=”selector” icon=”Defaults-circle-blank” icon_size=”32″ icon_style=”none” icon_color_border=”#333333″ icon_border_size=”1″ icon_border_radius=”500″ icon_border_spacing=”50″ img_width=”48″ line_icon_fixer=”10″][/ultimate_heading][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Unseen Bangkok Sightseeing by Nine

Apart from the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Pho, or some other well known attractions, Bangkok still has so many other interesting places that are often overlooked by tourists.

Wat Suthat and the Great Swing

Wat Suthat or its full name Wat Suthat Thep Wararam Ratcha-Woramahawiharn is a royal temple of the first grade, one of ten such temples in Bangkok (there are 23 in Thailand).  The temple was built by King Rama I in 1807 (B.E. 2350) to shelter the 13th Century gold Buddha image transported by boat from Sukhotai, but was finally completed during King Rama III’s reign (1824-51).[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_single_image image=”2867″ css_animation=”fadeInUp” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_self” title=”Wat Suthat – Thank you picture from dhammathai.org” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]Wat Suthat or better known for the towering red Giant Swing that stands at its entrance is one of the oldest, largest and most impressive temples in Bangkok.  It features an elegant chapel with beautiful roofline, huge golden Buddha image, magnificent mural paintings, exquisite hand-carved teakwood door panels and the giant swing out front.

 

The main “wiharn” (main hall) of Wat Suthat is one of Bangkok’s tallest due to the need to house a huge and beautiful 13th-century Phra Si Sakayamuni, a gold Buddha image of 8 metres (25-foot) tall.  The cloisters surrounding the “wiharn” also contain more than 150 Buddha images along the outer wall.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_single_image image=”2866″ css_animation=”fadeInUp” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” title=”Phra Si Sakayamuni-Thank you picture from dhammathai.org” img_size=”full”][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]The mural paintings inside were commissioned in part by King Rama II but were probably created and completed towards the end of King Rama III’s reign, around 1850.  The wall paintings depict the 24 previous lives of the Buddha and the columns are painted with scenes of the early history of Bangkok.  The doors in the middle of each of the four walls are painted and gilded with quite colorful scenes from the Ramakien.  The column closest to the door on the right depicts scenes of the early westerners who came to Siam.  The splendid wall paintings underwent restoration in the late 1980s.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_single_image image=”2865″ css_animation=”fadeInUp” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” title=”Thank you picture from www..bloggang.com” img_size=”full” img_link_large=”yes”][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]The courtyard between the Buddha gallery and the “wiharn” stand many Chinese pagodas, bronze horses and figures of Chinese soldiers. The statues are believed to have been shipped from China as ballast in rice boats during the reign of King Rama I.

 

The Great Swing Old Bangkok Buddha market

The Buddhist temple is closely associated with Hinduism, and especially the Hindu Brahman priests who officiate at important state ceremonies.  This area is the home of the Brahmin priests who oversee royal rituals such as the ploughing ceremony held at the traditional beginning of the cultivated season.  However, Wat Suthat is still a very important temple to the Thais.

In front of the temple is the famous Giant Swing, painted red with a height of 21.15 metres and was used as ceremonial swing, a Hindu symbol that became Bangkok’s civic emblem for a time. The giant swing was built by King Rama I in 1784, only two years after the establishment of Bangkok as the new capital in 1782.  The Great Swing was used to celebrate and thank Shiva for a bountiful rice harvest and to ask for the god’s blessing on the next.  Teams of men would ride the swing on the arch as high as 82 feet in the air, trying to grab a bag of silver coins with their teeth.  The ceremony was discontinued in 1932 after several fatal accidents, but the thanksgiving festival is still celebrated in mid-December after the rice harvest.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_single_image image=”2864″ css_animation=”fadeInUp” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded” border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” title=”Giant Swing Bangkok” img_size=”full” img_link_large=”yes”][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_column_text]No information was found on how high the original swing was, but over a hundred years later the old swing was decaying and was replaced with a new one made of teak in 1920 in the reign of King Rama VI.  It was twice renovated after that and was again replaced with one made of teak in 2006, with a height of 21.15 metres from the base to the top, hence the name “Giant Swing”.

In 2005, Wat Suthat and the Great Swing was submitted to UNESCO for consideration as a future World Heritage Site.

This temple is located at Bamrungmuang Road, centre of Bangkok Metropolitan , not too far from the Grand Royal Palace,

Admission Fee : Visitors have to pay an entrance fee of Baht 20 (USD 0.63) at the booth just inside the north gate.  The temple is open between 8.30 am to 9.00 pm.

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