Monday, February 16, 2009

Wat Arun

Just a quick ferry ride across the Chao Phraya River across from Wat Pho is another temple - Wat Arun. Named after the Indian god of dawn Aruna because King Taksin arrived here at sunrise in 1767 to establish Thonburi as Siam's new capital, Wat Arun is also known as the Temple of Dawn. Ironically, sunset falling on the temple as seen from across the river is a much prettier picture. Dominating the view is the central prang, surrounded by four smaller prangs. All are decorated with pieces of Chinese porcelain.

Upon arrival at Wat Araun, the visitor is greeted by two giants guarding the bot (ordination hall) supposedly moulded by Rama II. Surrounding other buildings are some elephant sculptures, Chinese figures, and large dragon-like creatures. Along the exterior wall of one building are a multitude of Buddha figures, appearing as if cloned. Behind the white blossoms of a frangipangi tree was a white building with blue window irons, the sounds of children singing emanating. The grounds is beautifully maintained. From on top of the central prang one can get a great view of the Old City.

As with other temples I visited in Bangkok, it was fun meandering about, finding hidden architectural and natural wonders in various knooks and crannies.

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