Wat Pho is not only one of the most visited Buddhist temples in Bangkok but it is where history, medical science and educational institute combined. Officially named Wat Prachetuphon Vimon Mangkararam.
Wat Pho was believed to be founded during the 16th century and was later served as The Royal Temple of King Rama I of Chakri Dynasty. Laid inside the main ordination hall is the sacred 46-meter Reclining Buddha whose feet are beautifully inlaid with mother-of-pearl, carved with holy signs.
Wat Pho is, among Thais, also known as “the nation’s first public university,” thanks to 1,360 marble inscriptions about medical, historical and liberal sciences places all around the temple where the people can read and learn anytime.
Marble inscriptions about medical sciences, anatomy and orthopedics are the origins of Wat Pho Thai traditional massage principles, which has made Wat Pho a world’s famous site. The traditional service, nowadays, is also available at the nearby pavilion. in 2008, Wat Pho was listed UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MOW) as a documentary heritage for Asia and Pacific Region.
History of Wat Pho
Wat Pho, the official name being Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn, is the first grade royal monastery, regarded as the most important one during the reign of King Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty. The importance of this is due to the King having managed the restoration of Wat Phodharam, an old monastery from the Ayudhya period, and had it re-established as a the royal monastery located near the Grand Palace. Some ashes of King Rama I were also kept under the pedestal of the principal Buddha image known as Phra Buddha Theva Patimakorn in the main chapel.
The monastery is located in an area of 20 acres to the south of the Grand Palace, with Thai Wang road in the north, Sanam Chai road in the east, Setthakan road in the south and Maharat road in the west. Separated by a tall white wall on Chetuphon road, the monastery has two main quarters: the sacred or a chapel section, Buddhavas, and the residential or the monk’s living section, Sangghavas.
It is said in a stone inscription that, after moving to the Grand Palace, King Phra Buddha Yod Fa The Great (King Rama I) recognized that there were 2 old temples along both sides of the Grand Palace: Wat Salak (Wat Mahatart) in the north, and Wat Phodharam in the south. He ordered his noblemen from the department of the Ten Crafts to restore Wat Phodharam in 1788. This first restoration took 7 years 5 months and 28 days. Then there was a celebration in 1801 and the Royal named it “Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklavas”, which was changed to “Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm” during the reign of King Rama IV.
The great restoration, having taken 16 years and 7 months, was done during the reign of King Rama III, by extending both the South Vihara and West Vihara where the large reclining Buddha image is kept, the Missakawan Park, Phra Mondob (Library Hall) and teaching-learning hall as they are of today. Although there was another restoration before the Bangkok Bicentennial Celebration in 1982, no more other major work has been done on the monastery, except for some minor repairs.
Getting there: Bus no. 1, 3, 12, 25,44, 47, 53, 60, 82, 91, 501, 508
Admission : 100 baht
08.30 – 17.00
Map of Wat Pho
CONTACT DETAILS :
- ADDRESS : Maharat Road, Phra Nakorn District, Bangkok
- Contact: Tel : 0 2222 1969 ; Thai Massage School : 0 2221 3686 . 0 2622 3550-3
- Website: www.watpho.com