THE GRAND PALACE
Descriptions from “Guide to the Grand Palace” which are given out to tourist inside the palace grounds itself. All photos are of the writer.
The Grand Palace complex was established in 1782 and it consists of not only the royal residence and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It covers an area of 218,000 square meters and is surrounded by four walls, 1900 meters in length.
After King Rama I ascended to the throne in 1782, the palace was built. Prior to this, the royal palace and centre of administration had been located in Thonburi, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. For various reasons the new King considered the former capital to be unsuitable and decided to establish a new capital on the other side of the river. By his royal command, a new palace was built to serve not only as his residence but also as the site of administrative offices. The royal compound has been known since then as the Grand Palace. The two earliest buildings erected within the complex are the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall, and the Phra Maha Monthian.
THE ELEVATED PLATFORM – PHRA SIRATANA CHEDI
This golden stupa is called Phra Siratana Chedi in Thai. It was erected by King Rama IV in 1855. Relics of the Lord Buddha are enshrined inside this stupa. This stupa has a circular base and a bell shape which is in the Ceylonese style. The original of this one was covered with white wash and the golden tile mosaics were applied to the stupa in the reign of King Rama V.
The building is in the Buddhist library, called Phra Mondop in Thai. It was built during the reign of King Rama I in 1789 for containing a large beautiful mother-of-pearl inlay book cabinet to house the Buddhist scripture. There are figures of demons and human faces nagas, guarding all four doors. The door panels are also inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Placed at each of the four corners of the exterior walls are four stone Buddha images in Javanese style from 14th or 15th century made of volcanic stone and were presented to King Rama V by the governor of Java during the state visit to Java which now is Indonesia.
Around the library are four small pillars surrounded by elephant statues. In gilt pavilions on the pillars contain the royal emblems of all the Kings in Bangkok period. At the base of the gilt pavilion, you can see bronze models of auspicious white elephants. They are different in number due to the number of white elephant in each reign.
MODEL OF ANGOR WAT
A model of Angor Wat, the Khmer temple in Cambodia. It sia an impressive example of Khmer architecture of the 12th century. King Mongkut or King Rama IV had it built for his subjects to see what the Khmer ruins looked like. The original Angor Wat in Cambodia was built by King Suriya Varman II. The real one is very large about 1,000 meters length and 800 meters width.
The belfry tower is constructed by King Rama IV, decorated with colour porcelain mosaics. The bell is now rung only on certain occasions such as when the new supreme patriarch is nominated.
THE DEMON GUARDIANS
PHRA WIHARN YOD
It was built by King Rama III and used as the chapel of many Buddha images, one of them is Phra Naga image which was transferred from Hor Phra Naga. The super structure is in the form of Thai crown decorated with color porcelain mosaics from China.
CHAKRI MAHA PRASAT HALL
This building was a royal residence built by King Rama V in 1877. This is the only one building int he Grand Palace that mixed the lower part of the throne hall in European style with Thai style roof. King Rama used this building a his residence Later it was used by the King to receive the credentials from ambassadors but now this ceremony takes place at Chitralada Palace. And now, this building is used for state banquets.
It was built by King Rama IV as a replacement for the one built by King Rama I which he himself had demolished. It is used as a chapel by a chapter of monks of Ramana Sect every Buddhist Holy Day for ceremony of making holy water used in the daily ablution of the King and sprinkling over the compound of the Phra Maha Montian.
DUSITA PHIROM HALL
Originally it was built as an open pillared hall of wood by King Rama I and it was enclosed by a curtain wall of masonry by King Rama III. It was used as a changing room for the king to change his regalia before going out to a platform to mount on a palanquin or the elephant in the north and the west.
SOME MORE PHOTOS…
SOME TIPS AND WHAT TO EXPECT
- It’s gonna be freakin’ hot!
- They are strict on the dress code. I was wearing jeans with literally an inch of scratch without skin showing but they still made me purchase a scarf at 100Baht to be worn on top of my pants. The scarf is cool on photos, though, and is definitely purposeful as I used it as shield against the scorching heat and from water splashes inside the boat during the river tour.
- There are restrooms inside the palace grounds.
- You cannot take picture of the reclining Buddha. It’s a sacred thing in Buddhism and in situations like that it’s best to respect other people’s religion less you want your entire SD card be deleted off of photos.