Wat Pho is one of the largest temple complexes in Bangkok, Thailand and is famous of its giant reclining Buddha and for being a great place to get a traditional Thai massage.
Wat Pho is located about a 10 minute walk from the Grand Palace. Architecturally, the buildings of Wat Pho are similar to the building of the Grand Palace but that is where the similarities stop. There are many distinct differences between the two complexes. Wat Pho is spectacular in its own way but it is generally not as flashy as the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace uses more gold on the stupas and on the statues, the guards are smaller and not decorated.
The photos below reveals the similarity in architecture that can be seen in the buildings at the Grand Palace and at Wat Pho.
Many of the entrance doors have statues on each side but they seem more like a welcoming party than guards. These statues are very detailed carved natural stone but they are not decorated with colorful tiles like buildings and most of the other elements in the complex.
Several doors have a pair (male and female) of carved stone statues of lions on each side which symbolizing guardians of the doorway and are intended to bring peace and prosperity.
There are a total of 91 stupas in the complex. Almost all of the stupas are decorated with colorful mosaic tiles. There are four large stupas that are all 42 meters tall. These stupas were built for King Rama I, II, III and IV.
In each of the four corners of the complex is a group of five stupas tied together on a single base.
The remaining 71 stupas in the complex are all stand-alone stupas that are scattered throughout the complex.
Four of the stand-alone stupas are noticeable different. These four stupas are located in the four corners of the Ordination Hall courtyard. These stupas are different because they are covered in marble and they have gold leaf Khmer style statues which are not part of the other stupas.
The Reclining Buddha
The main attraction at Wat Pho is the massive Reclining Buddha. The Reclining Buddha was built in 1832 by Rama III and is the largest Buddha in Bangkok (3rd largest in Thailand). The Reclining Buddha measures 46 meters long and 15 meters high and is covered with gold leaf.
The Buddha’s feet are 5 meters long and are decorated in mother of pearl. The souls of the feet are divided into 108 separate panels that display pictures such as flowers, dancers, elephants and tigers.
The most important building is the Ordination Hall that is located at the center of the complex and is where religious ceremonies are held. Inside the hall is a seated Buddha.
There are four other chapels in the complex. Two of these chapels are shown in the following pictures. The first is an eight meter standing Buddha and the second is a seated Buddha sheltered by a seven-headed serpent.
Rows of Buddha
Wat Pho features over 1000 Buddha throughout the complex. Many of these Buddha are in the corridor along the walls of the courtyard that surround the Ordination Hall. The photos below are from two of the corridors.
Located within Wat Pho is a Thai massage school. The temple grounds contain a small rock garden with statues that show the methods and positions of Thai massage.
There are also plaques that show massage points and different illnesses that can be cured with Thai massage.
There are four entrances into the Ordination Hall courtyard. These entrances are on the north, south, east and west. On each side of the north and south entrances there are three pagodas being held up by statues of strong men. On each side of the east and west entrances there are two pagodas making a total of 20 pagodas within the temple.
Like many temples that I have been in, Wat Pho has many smaller structures, murals and features that aren’t specifically identified but make the temple more interesting. Some of these details that I found interesting are included in the following photos.
The reclining Buddha at Wat Pho is like nothing that most people have seen and it is a “must see” when visiting Bangkok!