Temple of the Reclining Buddha - History and Facts | History Hit

Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Pho is a sacred Buddhist temple dating back to the 18th century and containing the world famous Reclining Buddha.

Peta Stamper

13 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Temple of the Reclining Buddha

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Pho, is one of the oldest sacred temples in Bangkok, Thailand, and is a first grade royal monastery. Located on Rattanakosin Island south of the Grand Palace, the famous Wat Pho is home to over 1000 images of Buddha as well as one of the largest single images at 46 metres in length.

Temple of the Reclining Buddha history

Located next to the Grand Palace, the current Temple of the Reclining Buddha was built in 1788 by King Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty, whose ashes are kept in the temple. This was actually a reconstruction project to rebuild an original temple on the same site, believed to date back to the Ayudhya kingdom.

Wat Pho was also occupied by a French Star Fort, demolished by King Phetracha after the Siege of Bangkok in 1688. After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767, the capital was moved to Thomburi where King Taskin relocated his palace over the river from Wat Pho, elevating the status of the monastery.

Temple of the Reclining Buddha today

Today, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha as we see it has since undergone two further restorations: one during the reign of King Rama III and one in 1982. The temple is probably most famous for housing the Reclining Buddha which, with its gold-plated body measuring 46 metres long and 15 metres high, is the largest portrayal of Buddha in Thailand.

It is also the home of the Thai massage, an activity in which visitors can indulge at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Beyond the Reclining Buddha and the Thai massage, Wat Pho is made up of 20 acres where visitors can also view the existing monastery.

A great way to see Wat Pho can be by hiring a local guide.

Getting to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha

The easiest way of reaching Wat Pho is by boat: take the Chao Phraya River Express to the Tha Thien Pier before walking through the market and up the short street. You will see Wat Po directly across the intersection on your right, with the Grand Palace on your left.

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