Bangkok: 8 Interesting Facts On Wat Pho


Wat Pho is popular for the impressive Reclining Buddha. Wat Po is the oldest Buddhist temple in Bangkok and houses about a thousand images of the Buddha. These temple premises are revered as a site of the oldest traditional school of Thai medicine. It’s also the site that witnessed the birth of the traditional Thai massage. Interesting, right? Here are a few more interesting facts about Wat Pho (or Wat Po):

1. Wat Pho covers about 8 hectares of area. This temple ground is the headquarters for teaching and preserving the Traditional Thai medicine. This also includes the Thai Massage. This was a law passed by the Rama III just to save the tradition from extinction. The massage school is located in the temple premises. Apart from that, there are extra rooms for training outside the temple.

2. The temple was built by King Rama I. Earlier the area was a temple site that was later rebuilt by the King. This later became his main temple which also houses some of his ashes. The original name of the temple was Wat Photaram. The name refers to the Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya in India. This is the place where Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment.

3. The Reclining Buddha (the Phra Buddhasaiyas) is about 46 meters long and is 15 metres high. The body of the Buddha is gold plated. The eyes of the Buddha are decorated using Mother-of-Pearl or Nacre. At the bottom of the Buddha’s feet, you will find 108 holy scenes depicted in both Chinese and Indian styles.

4. The Reclining Buddha statue symbolises the passing of Lord Buddha to Nirvana.

5. The Wat Pho temple premises have two compounds. The North wall is the place where the Reclining Buddha is located. The Southern part of Wat Pho has the Buddhist Monastery (also known as Tukgawee) which is also a school.

6. UNESCO recognises all the inscriptions and marble illustrations on the temple premises under its Memory of the World Programme. This programme was launched for the preservation and for propagating the wisdom of the world heritage.

7. You will find pictorial encyclopaedia engraved on the walls and granite slabs in the temple. This encyclopaedia covers several subject areas such as health, proverbs, medicine, history, literature, and lexicography.

8. There are 91 small Stupas inside the temple premises. It’s also home to a central shrine, four great Stupas, gardens and pavilions, and a temple museum.


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