Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wat Pho Budhist Temple UNESCO Heritage Site

Bangkok’s oldest and largest monastery occupies 25 acres adjacent to the Grand Palace and near the Tha Tian river pier, in the historic royal Ko Ratanakosin district. The grounds are divided into two separate cloistered compounds divided by Soi Chetuphon. Tourists typically visit only the northern compound, where a world-famous reclining Buddha and massage school are located, along with the main wihan and bot. Across the soi, the much less-visited southern compound contains monks’ residences and a secular school.



Wat Pho architecture By order of Rama I, construction on Wat Pho or Wat Phra Chetuphon began in 1789 and was completed 16 years later. An earlier 16th-century temple called Wat Photharam occupied the same site and was partially incorporated into the newer project. The short name for the original temple, Wat Pho, remains the most common moniker for its replacement.


The new monastery served as a centre for traditional Thai medical knowledge. A large series of marble slabs were inscribed with medical texts, including herbal remedy formulae, and installed in the northern temple pavilions. In 2008, the plaques were listed by UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme, which recognises the preservation of valuable cultural archives around the world.


Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest wats in Bangkok (with an area of 50 rai, 80,000 square metres), and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images, as well as one of the largest single Buddha images: the Reclining Buddha. The Wat Pho complex consists of two walled compounds bisected by Soi Chetuphon running east–west. The northern walled compound is where the reclining Buddha and massage school are found. Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok, Thailand. It is located in the Rattanakosin district directly adjacent to the Grand Palace. Known also as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, its official name is Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan.