This Blog covers the “Grand Palace of Bangkok” and to be very truthful I don’t know if I can begin to describe with words the magnificence of this Palace. Susy said at the end of the day her senses were in complete overload, and I couldn’t agree with her more.
Well, here goes, follow me through the tour with the pictures above in the album entitled “Bangkok, Laem Chabang Port, Thailand – Day 1, Part 2 – Grand Palace”. To begin with picture an area of 2 million square feet, with a outer wall surrounding the complex 1.2 miles in length. The Grand Palace complex was established in 1782 and houses not only the royal residence and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned “Temple of the Emerald Buddha”.
In the first photo you enter through one of the main gates and you can see the height of the outside wall. Passing through the gate you come into a large open yard, like a parade ground, circled with trees cut in perfect cones, and the palace buildings in the background, with more gold then you have ever seen in your life. As usual Susy came through with “not even Disney could equal this!!” In the third photo you see the building which houses at the back the “Temple of the Emerald Buddha”. I’ll just show you two more photos across these grounds, one of all the “inner” court yard buildings where you can see clearly the inner wall surrounding this area. Lastly, I though I would show you a familiar tourist, just so you know I’m not always behind the camera and am holding up OK. Next we walked into what I’ll call the inner court yard, which consists of an upper terrace full of buildings and on the lower level the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Walking through the inner court yard wall you first see these buildings that you saw outside but up close, and the gold and colors are just incredible. The next photo shows a huge warrior statue, one of many that stand guard around the inner compound. Just as you think you have seen it all the guide shows you the inner side of the inner court yard wall (next photo) which is covered with a beautiful mural that goes around the entire inner complex. I can’t begin to describe what each building is, and we couldn’t go into any of them except the “Temple of the Emerald Buddha”, but there were throne rooms, libraries, a repository for Buddhist sacred scriptures, a mausoleum of the Royal Family, etc. etc… Scattered around the terrace are statues of elephants and mythical beings, making the whole scene some thing out of a fantasy world. The ninth photo is the front of the “Temple of the Emerald Buddha” which we were able to enter. Inside is this relatively small Buddha on the top of a high altar covered with other Buddha statues and more gold and jewels than I have ever seen in one place. Oh, the “Emerald Buddha” isn’t made of Emerald; it is made of green Jade. It was discovered in 1434. At the time the image was covered in plaster and looked like an ordinary Buddha statue, but one day the abbot who discovered the Buddha saw the plaster on the nose had flaked off, revealing the green stone underneath. The abbot thought the stone was Emerald, thus the legend of the Emerald Buddha image began. Susy said a prayer for all of us, so sleep calmly, the Emerald Buddha will protect you. Leaving the Buddha temple I just wanted to show you some of the craftsmanship so the next photo (#10) shows a golden inlaid door, and the photo after that (#11, and don’t worry I’m going way over my 10 photo limit) is the back side of the Emerald Buddha temple. Again, just to show you the handicraft and my traveling companion, the next photo shows Susy in front of a building which appears to be supported by these mythical beings. As usual, I had to get a photo of a Thai family (#13), and as we left the inner compound I show you a photo (#14) of 2 of the large warrior statues guarding the gate. My photo #15 shows the craftsmanship of the roof line on one of the buildings. If you thought this was enough you are very mistaken because as we walked out of the inner court yard we entered an area with a long row of palace buildings, the main one which you see in the next photo (#16) is the palace which the story “The King and I” was taken from. I need to stop here and explain a little story our Guide told us about the “King and I”. The film and the book are banned in Thailand because it is insulting to the King that any woman and especially a foreign woman would have such influence on him. If a Thai is caught with the DVD, book, or any media of the “King and I” they will be thrown in jail for 6 months. The next photo shows a mausoleum where the king’s sister, who died on Jan. 2nd is being kept in a sealed urn until Oct. 20th when she will be cremated. The reason she is kept there so long is that Thai’s believe royalty must lay in state at least 200 days preparing to go into the afterlife. Normal Thai’s only have to lay in state 6 or 7 days before they can be cremated. In the 18th photo I show you just a few of the beautiful “Bonsai” trees that are everywhere and all immaculately trimmed. On the way out we ran in to a couple of monks and to end this visit (Photo #20) you see Susy at work with a street vendor, one of many who crowd your bus every time you get on or off.
Well that’s the Grand Palace, an unforgettable experience. Again, I hope I gave you a flavor of what we saw, but believe me you have to go there to really appreciate the splendor of this place.
Love to All,
Gary (alias Gagu)