A-Z April Challenge – Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok

Bangkok can best be described as manic and magnificent in equal measure.

Amongst all of the wonderful chaos you have the splendour of the Grand Palace and its nearby little brother, the Wat Pho Temple (or Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn to give its official name!).

Wat Pho Bangkok 4

The grounds and temples are splendid, but the undoubted main attraction is the reclining Buddha.

Wat Pho Bangkok.jpg

The laid-back idol was built by Rama III in 1832 and measure 15 metres high and 46 metres long. The soles of the feet of the giant Buddha are 3 metres high and 4.5 metres long, and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. They are each divided into 108 arranged panels, displaying the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified, such as flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers, and altar accessories.

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The temple also features some exquisite artwork panels depicting Buddhist scenes like the one above.

Whilst we visited there was the slightly unsettling sight of worshippers who had lifelike dolls with them.

The phenomenon of Thailand’s luk thep dolls reached viral status in January 2016, when Thai Smile Airways started to allow passengers to purchase seats and meals for their realistic dolls. Luk thep translates as child angeland have become an intriguing part of Thai culture as they are said to bring luck and prosperity to their owners.

Wat Pho Bangkok 3

Psst! They Are Carrying Dolls!

There are even some owners who go as far as feeding and changing their dolls, hiring a babysitter and setting up group playdates. Certain restaurants in Thailand have even offered a special luk thep menu. Really!!?

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