on July 9, 2006
Wandering around the beautifully decorated chedi of Wat Pho you can almost forget you are in the bustling city of Bangkok, the rambling complex can seem more suited to a rural rather than urban setting. That is not to say that it doesn’t get busy but the largest wat in Thailand does allow you to find space for yourself.You are most likely to encounter other visitors and worshippers around the magnificent reclining Buddha. The statue is 151 feet (46m) long and covered in gold leaf, as you wander along its length you pass smaller shrines until, reaching the feet, you can let your gaze travel back towards the head and appreciate what a truly amazing object it is. The soles of the feet are inlaid with mother of pearl, and on the other side of the Buddha are 108 bronze bowls. Placing a coin in each of them is supposed to be auspicious and bring merit, if you don’t have 108 coins on you then for a small donation you can buy a pot of coins allowing you to complete the ritual.Take time to enter some of the smaller temple buildings surrounding the Reclining Buddha. In one, we were invited to join other worshippers to shake fortune sticks, a memorable experience.Wat Pho exudes a sense of calm and contemplation, the perfect antidote for fraught senses. And for fraught bodies the complex is also a centre of traditional Thai medicine and massage. A great place to revive both body and soul.
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