The Grand Palace, Thailand

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

James and I went to Bangkok while we were in Thailand for my conference presentation (more on that later). We booked a couple of half-day tours so we could see some of the highlights. Certainly one special place is the Grand Palace. 

The Grand Palace was built in 1782 and houses the royal residence, throne halls and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It was interesting to be on the grounds and even for a moment be part of life there. Royal troops marched and we quickly got into place to capture their movements. 

The Upper Terrace is a beautifully designed space among the Grand Palace grounds. The below photo shows a reliquary in the shape of a golden chedi. A small piece of the Great Buddha's bone is supposed to be housed here. 

Also on the Upper Terrace are amazingly beautiful statues of elephants and mythical beings. The models of elephants are a record of the famous white elephants acquired during the reigns of various kings of Thailand. (White elephants mean good fortune!)

Unfortunately there is no photography allowed inside the temple that houses the Emerald Buddha. It truly was an awesome sight. The Emerald Buddha is actually carved from a block of jade but when it was discovered in 1434, it was covered in plaster and had a little green piece sticking out. That led those who discovered it to believe it was made of emerald. The sacred image is clad with one of the three seasonal costumes (summer, rainy season, and winter) and the king changes the Buddha's clothes when the season changes. 

The grounds of the Grand Palace especially outside of the temple for the Emerald Buddha, there are shrines offering items such as fresh eggs and flowers to the deity. The tour was amazing but WOW it was hot. I stupidly wore a sleeveless shirt (with long pants) on the tour but shoulders must be covered when close to a renowned Buddha statue so I had to wear my jacket in 95 degree heat and full sun. AND - Thailand is going into its "cool" season. Ha!

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