You simply have to visit the temple of Wat Benchamabophit if only to gaze in absolute amazement at all the interesting features there. It is a beautiful unique blend of true classical Thai architectural design coupled with a strong nineteenth century European influences. And it doesn't stop there either.
The Wat inherited the nickname Marble Temple and with good intention too because Grey Carrara Marble was used as cladding for all the walls. The exquisite roof levels cruciform in cascading sequences while the bot itself seems so elegantly proportioned. Complementing this are the unusual Victorian-style stained-glass windows depicting scenes from Thai Mythology.
As you step inside, another world unfolds. This is where you'll find a replica of the highly revered Phra Buddha Chinnarat image of Phitsanulok. It presides over a small room containing the ashes of Rama V. Within its walls is one of three sets of doors intricately inlaid with mother-of-pearl that was salvaged from Wat Borom Buddharam in Ayutthaya. The room in which Rama V lived as a monk features murals depicting scenes and events that occurred during his reign.
Wat Benchamabophit is the last major temple to have been built in Bangkok. An Italian architect by the name Hercules Manfredi was commissioned by Rama V (King Chulalongkorn) along with his brother Prince Naris, to design the new bot and cloister for the original Ayutthaya Period Temple which stood on the site. Construction began in 1899 and the new temple was completed a decade later.
In the cloister, you'll see fifty-three different Buddha images. Some of them are originals while others are replicas from around Thailand and other Buddhist countries.
If you get here early in the morning, between 6:00 am and 7:30 am, you may just get the chance to see merit makers bringing alms for the monks who live, work and pray here. The monks line up outside the temple along Nakhon Pathom Road. The temple is one of the best venues in Bangkok to view religious festivals and monastic rituals. They are open from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.
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