Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Marble Temple

Most Bangkokkians have a favorite temple, or Wat as it's known in Thai. For me, it's difficult to pick just one because there are numerous magnificent Buddhist temples in this city from which to choose, including Wat Po with its giant reclining Buddha statue and traditional Thai massage school, Wat Phra Kaew with its "emerald" Buddha image and association with Thai royalty, and Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn, with its decorative mosaics that cover the surfaces of many of the buildings. Another temple that many Thais favor is Wat Benchamabophit. Wat Ben was constructed in 1899 and features an impressive Italian carrara marble exterior. I asked the taxi driver about his postcard of Wat Ben and he told me that it's his favorite temple because it was built by one of Thailand's best-loved monarchs, King Rama V.