After disembarking from our water taxi, Mrs Bear and I entered the grounds of the Grand Palace….It was built in the late 1700s…At about the same time, the ruler brought the Emerald Buddha to the temple on the grounds. The Buddha is relatively small, but carved from a block of jade. Photographs are forbidden, so you will have to come to see it. Wat Phra is considered the holiest shrine in Thailand, and the Emerald Buddha is the protector of the country. There are three ceremonies each year when the Buddha is adorned in clothing for the season. The outer buildings and shrines initially housed the departments which worked closely with the royal family : Military, Commerce, etc. The Palace is also quite sacred and closed to visitors.
The enterance of the grounds was immersed with billboards stating that Buddha is the father to all worshipers, and as such, he shouldn’t be degraded by being placed in a tattoo. We saw similar notices at the airport… I understand their beliefs and efforts, but think tha such a movement in the USA would result in MORE, not less defamation.
Back at our hotel, I asked a bartender about local pilgrimages to Bankok’s temples. She said that “the people” are not allowed to worship at the Emerald Buddha…that it is exclusively for the royal class. They visit the temples that will be reviewed in the next blogs.