Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Grand Palace (take three)

On my very first trip to Bangkok I made an impromptu attempt to visit the Grand Palace. This plan went somewhat awry when I got waylaid by a smooth talkin' tuk tuk scammer. Live and learn. The next time I went I planned things out every so slightly better but still ended up getting to the Palace after they'd stopped selling entry tickets for the day. So last weekend when I decided to go to Bangkok I put visiting the Grand Palace at the top of my list of things to do.

The temple of the Emerald Buddha is on the same grounds as the Palace, and we visited that first. It's quite a spectacular building actually, painted in gold and covered in mosaics. Compared to Thai temples, churches in America are seriously lacking in bling.

Pictures were not permitted inside... and I can't properly describe it. There was gold.... lots and lots of gold. There's huge gold pedestal for the emerald buddha (which is not especially tall... but you know, it's *emerald*!), it's surrounded by golden buddha statues and gold gold gold gold everything. Really quite overwhelming.

Here is Marie admiring one of the gold Gaurdas (bird-type-guard-thing) and Nagas (snakes) that surround the building.

Twelve giants guard the temple (I only spotted four). I had a bit of a mind flip when I realized that they aren't just really big statues of characters from Thai mythology... they're a life sized portrayals. When that sunk in it made me really excited to learn more about them. Unfortunately my google fu is failing me tonight and I can get no more than "generally benevolent guardians of natural treasures" and that doesn't seem quite right.

More gold... this is a Chedi, but I'm not 100% sure what it is, I think it houses a buddhist relic. Neither the weather nor my camera were in the mood to give me especially good pictures but BIG and GOLD is what I was trying to capture with this shot.

And now the elusive Grand Palace. We couldn't go inside, but I thought it was rather a stately looking palace! We walked around, went into a little garden for a bit and just enjoyed being out and about on a not stiflingly hot morning.

Of course once I got back to Rayong and told my students about our trip I learned that my ticket included admission to about five different museums on the grounds and I'd completely missed seeing any of them. D'oh! So I can not yet claim "mission accomplished" on the Grand Palace, but what I saw I enjoyed, and that's good enough for me.

TAG: Code Watermelon


Batty said...

Wow, that's very impressive. It looks like the type of place you can't see in one day anyway, so you can visit the museums on your next trip.

jovaliquilts said...

I didn't know there was that much gold in the whole world.

Exuberant Color said...

That's a lot of bling alright. I know the temples in the bible were just as elaborate with all the gold.

Rebel said...

Batty - we probably could have, we only spent about an hour or two wandering around. But it is nice not to feel rushed looking at *everything* all at once.

jovial - I know!!! It's all in Thailand.

Exuberant - that would have been a sight.