Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wat Saket - The Golden Mount

Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan (Thai: วัดสระเกศราชวรมหาวิหาร, usually shortened to Wat Saket (RTGS: Wat Sa Ket)) is a Buddhist temple (Wat) in Pom Prap Sattru Phai district, Bangkok, Thailand.

The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya era, when it was known as Wat Sakae. When Bangkok became the capital, King Rama I renovated the temple and gave it its present name.

Phu Khao Thong (Golden mountain, ภูเขาทอง) is a steep artificial hill inside the Wat Saket compound.  Rama I's grandson, King Rama III (1787–1851), decided to build a chedi of huge dimensions inside Wat Saket. Unfortunately, the chedi collapsed during construction because the soft soil of Bangkok could not support the weight. Over the next few decades, the abandoned mud-and-brick structure acquired the shape of a natural hill and was overgrown with weeds. The locals called it the "phu khao" (ภูเขา), as if it were a natural feature.

During the reign of King Rama IV, construction began of a small chedi on the hill. It was completed early in the reign of his son, King Rama V (1853–1910). A relic of the Buddha was brought from Sri Lanka and placed in the chedi.The surrounding concrete walls were added in the 1940s to stop the hill from eroding. The modern Wat Saket was built in the early 20th century of Carrara marble.

The Golden Mount

Water Taxi

Each day on our way to work at the Service Center we walk over a bridge with a water canal underneath.  The canal serves as a water route for boat taxis that go up and down the river.  We took the taxi going north to the Golden Mount.

Waiting for our water taxi.  L-t-R:  Sister Moleff, Sister Meeker, Elder Meeker, Elder Smith, Sister Smith, Sister Ure, Elder Ure.

Our water taxi coming in

At the Golden Mount

On the roof with Thai flags waving in a stiff breeze.

I couldn't get it rotated into the right position.  There are 2-Buddha's.  One in front of the worshipers, the other behind the glass window

Wat Ratchanatdaram Woravihara (Loha Prasat) is a sacred Buddhist temple built by the King Nangklao (Rama III) in 1846 for his niece - Mom Chao Ying Sommanus Wattanavadi. Aprt from being sacred, the temple’s claim to fame is its iron roof called Loha Prasat. The roof is 36 metres high and has 37 metal spires that signify the 37 virtues needed to attain enlightenment

The Democracy Monument was started in 1939 to commemorate the 1932 revolution that ended the absolute monarchy and introduced Siam's first constitution. The design of the monument is full of symbolism. For example, the four wings are each 24 meters high, signifying the 24th of June date the new constitution was signed. The location of the monument, between the old Grand Palace and the Dusit Palace, is also significant. A copy of the original constitution is held in central pedestal.

Where we ate a Thai lunch of 1800 Baht for 6-people.  The food was excellent as was the restaurant, the service, and live singing

Our Water Taxi back to Asoke.  The roof lowers for passing under low bridges.  To enter or exit we grab the rope that runs the length of the taxi  and swing in or out.  Or when seats are full, we stand holding on to one of the ropes attached to the roof.

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