Monday, 4 April 2011

Grand Palace, Bangkok

The Grand Palace was built/established in 1782 when King Rama I ascended to the throne of Thailand. It houses the king's palace, throne halls and government offices. The current king of Thailand, Rama IX, moved his official residence out of this compound to allow the compound to accommodate tourists. It is truly one of the most magnificent places I have ever been.This next photo shows the building where the former Kings would change into their ceremonial wardrobe and the platform where the Kings would climb onto the elephants. My tour guide was hysterical. She kept saying "King used to use elephants to get around. No more elephants. Now only Rolls Royce".The compound is guarded by good demons, lucky elephants and 1/2 women/animal creatures. The guide kept saying to me "The monkeys have no shoes. The demons have shoes. Demons good. Monkeys bad".

The craftmanship was amazing from the individual-laid gold leaf to the ceramic tile to the hand-painted walls.

The compound also houses the famous Temple of the Emerald Buddha. You can't take photos of the statue itself inside the building. The Buddha is actually one whole piece of jade and the King comes to the temple several times a year to dress the statue in his Summer, Rainy Season or Winter outfits. The Emerald Buddha was discovered in 1434 and had previously been covered in plaster, until a monk noticed a piece of chipped-off plaster on the statue's nose and saw green underneath. Can you imagine?? Outside the Temple is holy water that you can sprinkle on yourself for good luck.

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