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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Thailand series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring essential information about Thailand, Thai Culture and Thai People. From this lesson, we’re going to learn about popular tourist destinations in Thailand. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 11 - Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.
Located in Bangkok, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or วัดพระแก้ว (Wat Phra Kaew), is regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in all of Thailand. Rama I or in Thai พระบาทสมเด็จพระพุทธยอดฟ้าจุฬาโลกมหาราช (King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke) ordered the temple to be built in 1782 along with the Grand Palace, referred to as วัดพระแก้ว in Thai. The temple was built within the compound of the Grand Palace, and houses the statue of the Emerald Buddha, or พระพุทธมหามณีรัตนปฏิมากร หรือ พระแก้วมรกต . Though commonly referred to as a temple, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha has no resident monks.
Inside, the template วัดพระแก้ว (Wat Phra Kaew) is comprised of numerous small buildings adorned with intricate decorations. The most important building of all is the Ordination Hall or อุโบสถ (Ubosot.) Located in the middle of the temple, this is where the Emerald Buddha is housed. Carved entirely from a single jade stone, the Emerald Buddha depicts Buddha sitting in a meditative posture, rendered in the style of the Lanna school of northern Thailand.
No one is permitted to touch the statue except for the king of Thailand. The exterior of the Ubosot is elegantly decorated with gold stucco and colored mosaics. Inside the walls of Ubosot are beautiful mural paintings depicting the Life of Buddha and the Enlightenment of Buddha and other angels. The Thai word for Buddha is พระพุทธเจ้า
The entirety of Wat Phra Kaew is bound by a compound wall, decorated with mural paintings all around. The murals or ภาพจิตรกรรมฝาผนัง, depict 178 scenes in all, and illustrate the complete epic story of Ramayana sequentially. Furthermore, each gate of the wall is guarded by a pair of mythical giants. These giants are characters taken from the epic of Ramayana, and stand roughly 5 meters tall, beautifully decorated with colored mosaics.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What would you want to do if you visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha?
Leave a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com! Until next time!