Hiking in the Cinque Terre

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wat Benjamabopit, The Marble Temple


Inside and out, this temple is one of the most unusual, and most extravagant, in the kingdom. Built at the turn of the century on the orders of Rama V, the bòht (ordination hall) is made of white Carrara marble – hence its alternative name, ‘Marble Temple’ – imported from Italy especially for the job.

This structure is a prime example of modern Thai temple architecture, as is the interior design, which melds Thai motifs with European influences: the red carpets, the gold-on-white motifs painted repetitively on the walls, the walls painted like stained-glass windows and the royal blue wall behind the central Buddha image are strongly reminiscent of a European palace. It's not all that surprising when you consider how enamored Rama V (whose ashes are in the base of said Buddha image) was with Europe – just walk across the street to Dusit Park for further evidence.

The courtyard behind the bòht has 53 Buddha images (33 originals and 20 copies) representing every mudra (gesture) and style from Thai history, making this the ideal place to compare Buddhist iconography. If religious details aren’t for you, this temple still offers a pleasant stroll beside landscaped canals filled with blooming lotus and Chinese-style footbridges. - source

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