Wat Phrachetuponwimonmonkhararam Ratchaworawihan (Wat Pho)
Wat Pho is situated behind the Grand Palace, near the Tha Tien Pier. It is a large temple that was originally called Wat Photharam and was built during the Ayutthaya Period. King Rama I ordered its complete restoration in 1789 and installed many Buddha images that were removed from abandoned temples in other parts of the country.
King Rama III ordered another major renovation of the temple to make it a center of learning and art. This restoration took sixteen years to complete. Texts from treatises on various fields of knowledge were inscribed on marble slabs and placed in pavilions in the temple and on stone statues. Wat Pho thus became a source of knowledge for people of all classes and has therefore been referred to as Thailand’s first university.
Important features of the temple include Phra Buddha Dheva Patimakorn, Phra Buddhasaiyat. Phra Buddha Dheva Patimakorn, a Buddha in the mediation posture, is the principal image in the temple. King Rama I brought the image from “Wat Si Na”
The Phra Buddhasaiyat, or Giant Reclining Buddha, is the phra vihara for which the temple is famous. It was constructed in the Third Reign. On the sole of the foot, inlaid in mother of pearl, is the aspicious number 108.
Wa Sukree Mansion: is the palace of Somdet Phra Mahasamanachao Krom Phra Poramanuchit Chinoros, one of finest Rattanakosin era poets. He was honored by UNESCO as the worlds finest poet.
Wat Pho School of Traditional Medicine and Massage: The preparation of herbal medicine and diagnosis of disease is taught here, as well as the traditional massage seen in the sculptures complied on the orders of King Rama III. The teaching is practical and everyday large numbers of visitors, Thai and foreign, come to study and to be massaged. The temple is regarded as the first centre of public education and is sometimes called Thailand’s first university.