The grandeur of the Grand Palace, Bangkok
The Grand Palace is an iconic place in Bangkok over crowded with the visitors and thousands of them i must say. Yes you heard it right. Almost everyone who visits Bangkok will have this palace in their bucket list. Likewise it was in my list as well. Situated along side of the Chao Phraya river, it is a main attraction in Bangkok.
How i reached Grand Palace?
I had done my home work on how to reach the Grand Palace from my stay in Asok by metro. But sometimes you tend to deviate from your plan. The owner of my hotel told me the other alternative about reaching the place by local ferry. I am a person who like to explore the place by local transport. Unknown about the summer heat in Thailand i started off to reach a local pier "Asok". It was at 600 mts from the place i stayed. From Asok to Panpha Leelard pier i changed two ferries. I started walking towards the Grand Palace from the pier which was at a distance of 2.5 kms.
Umbrella in one hand and phone with the google maps on in the other and the camera hung in my neck, my walk started. On the way i walked through the street which was full of Lottery ticket stalls. It was a surprise to see a many people buying it. It's a regular affair. After that i crossed the Supreme court and reached the venue finally.
Grand Palace Entry
As i said that the Grand palace is over crowded but a nice place to visit. The entry fee is 500 THB and one has to follow the dress code. I had to stand in a queue for around 5-10 mins to get the entry ticket and proceed further. The timings are from 8.30 AM - 3.30 PM. While entering i saw a board where it was mentioned that the Grand Palace will be closed for the visitors by 12.00 PM. Be aware of the entry as sometimes the palace would be closed for some ceremonies. Yet we can roam around the complex which is very huge.
Wonderful structures of the Palace
It is so mesmerising to see the whole complex which has such a beautiful architecture. I was lost for some time in an attempt to find the grand palace. But later gave up and started from zero visiting the temples and the buildings inside the complex. It is a visual treat indeed.
1. Hor Phra Monthian Dharma
The library built by the brother of King Rama I houses many Buddhist scriptures and has mother of pearl inlay cabinets. The central door panels are made during the period of King Boromkot from Ayuthaya in early 18th century.
2. Statue of Cheewok Komaraphat
Do you know about the doctor of Lord Buddha? He is also regarded as the father of Thai medicine. The statue is built during the reign of King Rama III.
The twin buildings behind the statue has many Buddha images built by King Rama IV. The north chapel has 34 small Buddha images, dedicated to 33 Kings of Ayudhaya and 1 King of Thonburi which was the earlier capital of Thailand. The south chapel has 8 small Buddha images dedicated to the Kings of Bangkok.
Between the two chapels there is a pavilion which is of Thai crown shape, which has an old Prang. The leaves of Bodhi tree from Bhod Gaya India under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment are enshrined in this prang.
3. The Royal Pantheon
Initially, this was constructed to place the emerald Buddha. But it was left vacant as it was found to be too small to perform any ceremony. Constructed by King Rama I, currently it places the statues of the eight kings of Thailand. It was altogether a new experience for me. I had to remove my shoes before entering this building.
Inside I found many people offering prayers to the kings and there was the throne or the seat to be precise, of one of the kings which was placed in the centre. There was pin drop silence and I saw people devoting the kings like how we pray to the Gods in the Hindu culture.
On either side of the structure, there are two Stupas built by King Rama I for his parents. They are supported by demons and monkeys which are the important characters in Ramakien( Ramayana ) - a mythological story.
4. The Demon Guardians
There are six pairs of them. Most of them facing the chapel of Emerald Buddha, guarding it from the evil spirits.
5. The Chapel of Emerald Buddha
I could catch a sight of the Emerald Buddha from outside as the entry was closed the day i visited there for some royal ceremony. The Buddha image is carved out of Jasper and has three different costumes made up of gold and jewellery, one for each season - summer, winter and rainy. Originally it was brought from Ayuthaya to Wat Arun. At later point of time was moved from there to the Royal Palace.
6. Phra Siratana Chedi
The golden stupa was constructed by King Rama IV in 1855. The relics of Lord Buddha is enshrined inside this stupa. It is built in the ceylonese style and has a circular base and a bell shape.
7. Dusit Maha Prasat hall
It was built by King Rama I as a replacement for an earlier wooden building burnt down in 1789. This hall is used for annual Consecration Day Ceremony.
8. The Ramayana Paintings
The murals cover the gallery of all buildings in the temple. It depicts the story of Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana epic. The story is the battle between the demon king Tosakanth (Ravana) and King Rama. Tosakanth abducts the Sida, the Queen of King Rama and takes her to the Longka city. Battle follows later between the two kings to free Sida.
9. Phra Wiharn Yod
It serves as a Chapel for many Buddha images. This structure is in the form of Thai crown and is decorated with colour porcelain mosaics from China.
10. Model of Angkor Wat
The model of Angkor Wat, Cambodia is of the Khmer architecture. Cambodia is in my bucket list since long time and after seeing this model my longing has increased even more to visit the Angkor Wat.
11. Phra Asada Maha Chedi
There are eight towers called as Prangs built during the reign of King Rama I. It looks so beautiful in line and are dedicated to a certain Buddhist concept.
12. Rajruedi Hall
Built by King Rama VI, it is a open pavilion used by the King for abulition ceremony on his birthday.