The Temple of Dawn

Politics in Bangkok today became more serious and more stressful.

I’m not going to delve into politics today and instead take a relaxing trip to the Temple of Dawn (or what in Thai we call Wat Arun) by the Chaophraya river in Bangkok. It is a landmark that is known by every Thai, but I wonder how many have actually been up close and personal with it?

We often see it from across the river, past it on the boat and tell our foreign visitors about it, but rarely do we actually go there and explore all that it has to offer.

I still remember the first time I saw it after having moved back to Bangkok. It was on a cruise at night and the lights were shining on it to show it off in all its glory. The temple shone out against the dark night sky and for a minute, I was transposed to another time. Bangkok in its former glory. Absolutely breathtaking.

Up close, I was surprised to find it decorated by mosaics and beautiful chinese ceramics. A reminder of the trade that flourished between China and Thailand since the 1800’s. I read somewhere that broken ceramics were often recycled in this way. Chinese statues also stand guard around the temple grounds, apparently they were brought over to keep the ships heavy enough.

The temple’s central tower is in Khmer style and is around 70-80 meters high. Demonstrating the close link to India, the tower is said to symbolize Mount Meru in Indian cosmology. It is surrounded for 4 satellite towers that are devoted to the wind god.

Steps lead to the top. I dare not climb up all the way. I don’t like the way back down.

I plan to go back again during dawn, so that I can witness dawn rising over the temple. Afterall, it is called the “Temple of Dawn.” The light that reflects off the temple supposedly gives it a pearly iridescence.

I want to be transported back to ancient Thailand. How different life must have been then. Travel always stimulates the mind. There is so much to see, so much to do in life 🙂
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