Wat Arun “ the Temple of Dawn ”

         Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan or Wat Arun "Temple of Dawn") is a Buddhist temple (wat) in Bangkok Yai district of BangkokThailand, on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna,[1] often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. Wat Arun is among the best known of Thailand's landmarks and the first light of the morning reflects off the surface of the temple with pearly iridescence.[2] Although the temple had existed since at least the seventeenth century, its distinctive prang (spires) were built in the early nineteenth century during the reign of King Rama II.

 

History

       A Buddhist temple had existed at the site of Wat Arun since the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. It was then known as Wat Makok, after the village of Bang Makok in which it was situated. (Makok is the Thai name for theSpondias pinnata plant) According to the historian Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, the temple was shown in French maps during the reign of King Narai (1656–1688). The temple was renamed Wat Chaeng by King Taksinwhen he established his new capital of Thonburi near the temple, following the fall of Ayutthaya.[3] It is believed that Taksin vowed to restore the temple after passing it at dawn. The temple enshrined the Emerald Buddhaimage before it was transferred to Wat Phra Kaew on the river's eastern bank in 1785.[4] The temple was located in grounds of the royal palace during Taksin's reign, before his successor, Rama I, moved the palace to the other side of the river.[2] It was abandoned, for a long period of time, until Rama II, who restored the temple and extended the pagoda to 70m.[2]

 

Architecture

       The main feature of Wat Arun is its central prang (Khmer-style tower) which is encrusted with colourful porcelain.[5] This is interpreted as a stupa-like pagoda encrusted with coloured faience.[6] The height is reported by different sources as between 66.8 m (219 ft) and 86 m (282 ft). The corners are surrounded by four smaller satellite prang. The prang are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.[7]

            The central prang is topped with a seven-pronged trident, referred to by many sources as the "Trident of Shiva".[8] Around the base of the prang are various figures of ancient Chinese soldiers and animals. Over the second terrace are four statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on Erawan.[9] In the Buddhist iconography, the central prang is considered to have three symbolic levels—base for Traiphum indicating all realms of existence, middle forTavatimsa where all desires are gratified and top denoting Devaphum indicating six heavens within seven realms of happiness.[9] At the riverside are six pavilions (sala) in Chinese style. The pavilions are made of green granite and contain landing bridges.

 

Source:  www.wikipedia.org


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