Wat Arun

Wat Arun Rajwararam (Thai: วัดอรุณ, Thai pronunciation: , "Temple of the Dawn") is a Buddhist temple (wat) in the Bangkok Yai district of Bangkok, Thailand, on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The full name of the temple is Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan (วัดอรุณราชวรารามราชวรมหาวิหาร). Named after Aruna, the Indian God of Dawn, the Wat Arun is considered one of the most well known of Thailand's many landmarks.Drawn on a novel by Japanese writer Yukio Mishima(The Temple of Dawn-The Sea of Fertility).

Architecture

The outstanding feature of Wat Arun is its central prang (Khmer-style tower). Begun in 1809, it may have been named "Temple of the Dawn" because the first light of morning reflects off the surface of the temple with a pearly iridescence. Steep steps lead up to two terraces. The height is reported by different sources as between 66.8 m (219 ft) and 86 m (282 ft). The corners are surrounded by 4 smaller satellite prangs. The prangs are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China. The presiding Buddha image, cast in the reign of Rama II, is said to have been moulded by His Majesty himself. The ashes of King Rama II are buried in the base of the image.

The central prang is topped with a seven-pronged trident, referred to by many sources as the "Trident of Shiva".

Around the base of the prangs are various figures of ancient Chinese soldiers and animals. Over the second terrace are four statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on Erawan.

At the riverside are 6 pavilions (sala) in Chinese style. The pavilions are made of green granite and contain landing bridges.

Next to the prangs is the Ordination Hall with a Niramitr Buddha image supposedly designed by King Rama II. The front entrance of the Ordination Hall has a roof with a central spire, decorated in coloured ceramic and stuccowork sheated in coloured china. There are 2 demons, or temple guardian figures, in front.

The monastery has existed for many years since the days when Ayutthaya was capital of Thailand. At the time named Wat Mokok, situated in a place called Tumbol Bangmakok. The word Bangmakok, meaning " Village of Olive", has since been shortened to " Makok

Mythology

The central prang symbolizes Mount Meru of the Indian cosmology. The satellite prangs are devoted to the wind god Phra Phai.

Construction of the tall prang and four smaller ones was started by King Rama II 1809-1824 and completed by King Rama III (1824-1851). The towers are supported by rows of demons and monkeys. Very steep and narrow steps lead to a balcony high on the central tower. The circumference of the base of the structure is 234 meters, and the central prang is 250 foot high.

The demons (yaksha) at the entranceway to the ubosot are from the Ramakien. The white figure is named Sahassa Deja and the green one is known as Thotsakan, the Demon Rāvana from Ramayana.

Travel

Most of the tour packages around Bangkok offer a stop at Wat Arun, and it is an easy place to access by public transport. For the foreigners, the temple charges an entrance fee of THB 50 (as of September 2010). Wat Arun figures in one of Thailand's most colorful festival, the Royal Tod Kathin. His Majesty the King travels down in a procession of Royal barges to present new robes to the monks after their three-month lent period.

Media

Building Activity