The Grand Palace in Bangkok is one of the most popular places to visit for tourists coming to Thailand. Bangkok or Krung Thep (City of Angels) was founded in 1782 by King Rama I. The new capital is basically a replica of Ayutthaya, the previous capital of Siam (Thailand’s former name). The palace and its royal temple followed Ayutthaya model.
Wat Pra Kaew was built in 1785 for two main purposes: to house the highly revered Buddha image, The Emerald Buddha, and to accommodate royal Buddhist ceremonies. Despite the name, the Buddha is in fact carved from a block of green jade. It was discovered in 1434 in a stupa in Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand. The Buddha’s costume has to be changed three times a year in summer, rainy season and cold season by our beloved King.
There are several interesting structures within the compound, for example, Pha Sri Rattanajedi – a golden bell-shaped pagoda which holds relics of the Lord Buddha and the Royal Pantheon – a magnificent pavilion with corn-shaped summit, constructed to commemorate the great kings of the Chakri Dynasty.
The walls around the temple are decorated with beautiful mural paintings based on a well-known literature, Ramayana. They were first painted during the reign of King Rama I, but several major restorations have taken place after that to counter the damage from moisture.
A gateway connects Wat Pra Kaew to The Grand Palace which was established in 1782. It had served as a royal residence until 1925. Its most famous throne hall is the Chakri Maha Prasat, which was built in 1882 during the reign of King Rama V who had been on several visits to Europe. The body of a Victorian style building is covered with a authentic Traditional Thai style roof.