Monday, January 11, 2010


The 32-meter (100-foot) tall standing Buddha of Wat Indrawiharn used to be visible from just about any high vantage point around the old city. Now its hidden behind the new buildings from Thailand's boom years.

The ubosot of Wat Indrawiharn with its unusual sema stones in front.
Not that its any great loss. The giant Buddha statue is a rare example of Thai religious art failing to live up the the graceful lines its known for. The statue is flattened and thus very unrealistic. Its still an impressive work, and popular as a place of homage for some Thais.

Although the statue may fail to completely impress, the ubosot is beautifully decorated. Of particular interest are the intricately carved pink sema stones. Also of note is the wall enclosing the ubosot on three sides. The inside of the wall is lined with glass-fronted shelves holding benjarong funerary urns.

The temple was founded by King Rama IV in the mid-19th century. The giant statue was built to house relics from Sri Lanka. The stairway up the side of the supporting structure is sometimes open, so that you can ascend to the Buddha's shoulders to get an interesting view of this somewhat sleepy part of Bangkok.

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