Photo Gallery & Impressions 20a

PHOTO SAMPLER - BANGKOK: Temple of Emerald Buddha & Royal Grand Palace - 23 Aug. 2003.

While our last visit to Thailand in 1998 centered mostly in the huge city of Bangkok, this time we had so far spent a minimum of time there. Now it was time to spend a weekend visiting 2 special places - the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Keith's favorite wat) on the grounds of the Grand Palace  - and the famous Jim Thompson House (special for fabric & art loving Peg). We stayed in the conveniently located Royal Hotel, but found it much less than our favorite hotel - maybe we hit them at a bad time or maybe we had been spoiled by the warmer staff we had gotten used to at other places.

It was just a short walk from the hotel to the grounds of the Royal Palace. Inside the walls on this northeast corner we could clearly see the upper portions of Wat Phra Kaeo (or Temple of the Emerald Buddha).

Peg pauses as we enter the Palace grounds with its lolly-pop trees and large crowds.

A favorite part of this very special place is the murals painted inside the gallery walls surrounding the grounds of the Emerald Buddha Temple. To learn more about this special place, Click Here.

These walls are painted with scenes from the Ramakien legend (or Ramayana, first painted during the reign of King Rama I in the late 1700's. 

These cloistered galleries form about a city block square around the whole Royal Monastery complex & contain 178 sections of the story.

Here celestial beings hover over the primary scene of the legend depicted below. This is a Hindu epic interpreted in Thai style. Click here for some additional online images.

When we first came across this great artwork 5 years ago, we started the futile task of photographing it. We soon learned that it was much too extensive.  There had to be a book that would explain it all as well. There was.

Even though nicely covered, the mural paintings do not last long due to the high humidity. Numerous restorations have kept these amazing treasured works of art vibrant.

Peg found the colorful roof tiles an interesting work of art in themselves.

The formations of ornate structures and monuments in the Wat Phra Kaeo complex is almost overwhelming.

We took over 100 photos here, but have struggled to choose about a third of those to give an idea of the special beauty & craftsmanship demonstrated here. This is part of Phra Mondop or library building.

Here Keith stands near a miniature Angkor Wat constructed by the order of King Rama IV. We would visit the real Angkor Wat a couple of weeks later.

Resoration seems always to be taking place here. A type of gold leaf is being applied to the behind of this lovely mythical being.

Crowds gather below but no one would dare mess with the huge guardians shown here.

The golden chedi shown here reportedly holds a portion of the Buddha's body.

Two of the celestial being here are very much alive. 

Here is a side view of the most important building in this complex - the Bot or temple that houses the Emerald Buddha.

Keith pauses in front of this special place that he first visited in 1961. It still holds a very special place in his heart.

Here we look down on the entrance area  of the Emerald Buddha Bot.

A closer view shows some of the offerings made by the many devotees.

Following Buddhist tradition, we circle this sacred building 3 times in a clockwise direction. Here Peg pauses at the north wall.

Keith tries to capture some of the golden garudas (another mythical beast) lining the north wall.

Keith by one of the entrances leading into the temple. No photos are allowed inside. (Click here for one on-line image or HERE for more.)

The rear of this temple building is even more ornate, but not as crowded.

Peg poses in the center of the rear of the bot.

She also agrees to pose outside under these unusual trees.

Recognized as "English speakers" we were interviewed by Thai English students on assignment. The 2 in uniforms had just finished with Keith; the 2 on the right continue to record Peg's answers to their questions.

Leaving the Temple grounds, Keith pauses with his big friends.

Next we venture out to again explore some of the Royal Palace grounds - Central Throne Hall on left - Dusit Throne group on right.

Peg poses with the elephant statues and the very alive military guard at the steps of the Central Throne Hall.

Peg was particularly taken by the blending of different styles of architecture in this large ceremonial building.

Keith is attracted to the more traditional Thai architecture of the Phra Maha Monthian group of buildings built in King Rama I's time - around 1785.

We both found the  Cho fas or foof finials on the Dusit Haha prasat Hall of interest. Look closely for the hands.

Keith chats with the young guys hanging out by the cannon display just outside the Wat Phr Kaeo Museum.

As we walk toward the exit of the Royal Grand Palace grounds, we get this view of the Temple grounds from the west.

Half way back to the hotel, walking across the large open park called Sanam Luang, we look back toward the Palace & the area famous for kite flying.

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