Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha) in Bangkok might not rate a second glance if not for its astonishing Buddha image.
Wat Traimit is thought to date from the 13th century. The Golden Buddha image is about 900 years old and is cast in the Sukhothai style. It is believed to have been brought first to Ayutthaya. When the Burmese were about to sack the city, it was covered in plaster to hide its value. Two centuries later, still in plaster, it was thought to be worth very little. But in 1957, when the image was being moved to a new temple in Bangkok, it slipped from a crane and was left in the mud by workmen. In the morning, a temple monk, who had dreamed that the statue was divinely inspired, went to see the Buddha image. Through a crack in the plaster he saw a glint of yellow, and discovered that the statue was pure gold.
What to See
Off to the side of Wat Traimit is a small chapel containing the Golden Buddha, which is the world's largest solid-gold Buddha. The graceful seated Buddha is nearly 10 feet high and weighs over 5 tons.
This powerful image has such a bright, reflective surface that its edges seem to disappear, and it gleams with such richness and purity that even the most jaded are inspired by its strength and power.
Pieces of the stucco that once hid this remarkable treasure are on display in a case to the left.
Written by Martin Gray.
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