Bangkok - The City of Angels

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Formerly known as Siam, Thailand, 'Land of the Free' was renamed in 1939.   It is the only country in the region never to have been under the control of a western colonial power

 

 
The Grand Palace

The Palace is situated in the inner city.   A man made area bounded by the Chao Phya River and the klong, canal.   Built in 1782 and added to in subsequent reigns, it is now used only for state banquets and royal ceremonies.  The palace compound is a blend of temporal and spiritual buildings, its architecture ranging from  traditional Thai to Victorian

Within these walls are situated government offices, former royal residences and the Chapel Royal of the Emerald Buddha. Wat Phra Keo 

On week days the palace and temples are open to the public and an admission charge is made.   In 1992 they were free on Sundays  and were crowded with devout Thai's.   The air is heavy with the scent of flowers and burning joss sticks 
 Royal Pantheon.  Built to  honour the Chakri dynasty which still rules Thailand.  It contains life size statues of all the Chakri kings and is open on only one day a year, Chakri Day, April 16th
A pair of gilded chedi, protected by ornately robed mythical giant yaks stand in the forecourt of the Parthenon

 

 

Wat Phra Keo The temple was built in 1782 to house the effigy known as the Emerald Buddha, carved from a single piece of jade and an object of veneration throughout Thailand.  Discovered in Chang Rai 1464 it had many homes before coming to rest on top of a 33' gilded altar.  In front sits the tiny figure of a monk draped in saffron robes which are changed three times a year by the King.  Photography is strictly forbidden inside the temple 

Mythical Garuda Surround Wat Phra Keo

 

Small Shrines

Temple Courtyard

 

Thai Demon Guardian

The Kinaree half woman half bird

Chinese Stone Guardian

Although the temple compound has all the architectural features of a monastery,  no monks have ever lived here
Cloisters surround the temple compound

 Murals depicting the story of the Ramakien adorn the walls.  Originally painted between 1824-1850 they have undergone several restorations to remove  non original Western influences.  They are alive with scenes of battles, intrigues and comedy   
Marble slabs set into the cloister pillars are inscribed with Thai poems describing each episode of the Ramakien

Palace Grounds

Worlds Longest Reigning Living Monarch

Decorations for the December birthday of King Bhumibol who ascended the throne upon the assassination of his brother in 1946

The Chakri Maha Prasat Palace 1882

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