on June 2, 2010
Wat Arun, is a far cry from the architectural design of the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. Yet it is a mere ferry ride away. There are no green and gold roof tops, nor decorated eaves here.Instead, this Khmer-style prang rising over 250’ can be seen from the other places. The four smaller towers seem to be the icing on the cake. The combination of the center tower and four smaller surrounding ones represents Mount Meru, a very sacred mountain in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. The faith of this temple is, in fact, Buddhist. Each level you ascend, represents another level in heaven. Each layer of the main prang appears to be held up by rows of Goompagans positioned in a squat pose with arms raised to hold up the foundation. Kinnari, the beautiful half-woman half-bird character as well a the fierce Yaksa demons are depicted in half circle cutouts along the walls. Pieces of colored ceramic shaped into flowers and ivy adorn all the pillars surrounding the mythical creatures. As you climb up the main prang, you a better view of the skyline as well as the smaller prang’s details. Here you’ll notice chimes fashioned in the form of small golden leaves emitting the faintest, but extremely peaceful murmurs. At the top of the smaller prangs there are arches with statues of man on a horse decorating it, while the central pillar’s archway depicts Erawan, the 3-headed elephant from Hindu mythology.Two huge Goompagans, or gatekeepers, adorn the entryway to the site and are from the Hindu period. Yet the small shrines on the site house small Buddhas. The main Buddha statue is purported to have be designed by King Rama II. And this Temple of Dawn was chosen by King Tak Sin to be the royal palace as it is the first location to glean the morning light. For tourists, it is a popular place for a sunset.Admission 60B, hours 8:30-5:30, shoulders must be covered and no short skirts or shorts are permitted. Take the river ferry from Phra Arit near Khao San to the next stop heading south on the Chao Praya River and the dock right next to it takes you directly across to Wat Arun for 3B.
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