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Published: January 22nd 2014
Inside the main temple
Good day to you all again from Thon buri here in the great, though troubled city of Bangkok.Let me start this blog with a security update.Things are becomming a bit more tense here, with the Shutdown Bangkok movement into week two, starting today.and i am seeing an escalation in violent incidents.Twice this week there have been grenade explosions at two demonstration sites, many injured and one death.Both attacks have been in broad daylight, the latest occuring yesterday afternoon at about 1:30.No one has claimed responsibility and no one has yet been apprehended for the crime.The good news is the rest of the city, beyond the demonstration sites, is calm and undisturbed by what is going on.I am moving around as usual and there are no outward signs of any heightened tensions, police or military buildup so life as a traveller goes on without disruption.
My latest adventure was a trip to Wat Arun on the ThonBuri side of the river across from Wat Pho.I took the ferry to the pier at Wat Pho then had some lunch at a restaurant by the water before taking another ferry across the river to Wat Arun.These river crossing ferries are all along the
river and charge 3 bhat for a one way trip.They are constantly criss crossing and packed with people.I will write another time about the amazing integration of transportation modes in this city.
Wat Arun is another of the amazing sights in this city and rises spectacularly on the river shore.It is named after Aruna, the Indian god of dawn.It is here that in the wake of the destruction of Ayuthaya, the former capital of Siam, that King Taksin stumbled upon a small local shrine and interpreted the discovery as an auspicious sign that this should be the new capital of Siam.Taksin built a palace and Royal temple to house the Emerald Buddah here for 15 years before he was assassinated.
The main feature of the temple is the Khmer-style spire rising 82 meters high.From a distance you would not notice the spire is adorned with colourful floral murals made of glazed porcelain, a common temple ornamentation at the time it was built, the first half of the 19th century, as Porcelain was brought as ballast in the many chinese ships calling at Bangkok.
What makes this temple experience unique is the fact that visitors are allowed to
climb the spire.It is a very steep climb and presented a problem to some who found themselves at the top then looked at the prospect of climbing down and lost their nerve.Like the Mayan pyramids in Mexaco the steps are very unforgiving and of course solid rock so pretty hard if you were to fall,.Of course the Mayan pyramids were made for one way trips walking up, then your heart was cut out and your body was thrown down the side.
It was a great view from up there and well worth the climb but what I enjoyed the most was in the main temple.I noticed a ball of wool on a statue outside but no explanation but when I went inside there was a monk sitting on raised platform with worshippers at his feet.They were moving closer one by one and holding out their right hands where the monk would tie a piece of wool around their wrist.Occasionally the monk would spray water over the devotees heads in blessing.I decided to approach and received my wrist tie and water sprayed on me in blessing.A soldier noticed the tie yesterday and commented that it was a
good luck.Another man at the temple wished me a good life when I left.I am not a religious man but was moved by the experience and the monks presence.
There were many monks here, an active monastery and I wandered by a class with the monks looking like they were writing an exam.In behind the main temple compkex were buildings that appeared to be residences.The whole Temple area was lovely with smaller shrines and many statues placed around the grounds.Incense fills the air, very special.
I spent a few hours at Wat Arun but as the sun started to get lower on the horizon it was time to head home.this time however I walked home, no ferry noat but with Nicole's compass and my now somewhat worn map off I went.It was a long walk but interesting, crossing over canals and seeing the neighbourhood of Thonburi. I found a new market and bought the Thai equivalent of rice crispy squares, rounds here actually, with honey drizzled over them, yum yum.Got home tired, blessed and quite content with the day.Well that's it for now, take care all till the next time.
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