The Grand Palace Bangkok
Here is some further information about the Grand palace and the journey of the Emerald Buddha.
I decided to get to the Palace fairly early to avoid the crowds. Its impossible! The crowds had the same idea. The palace has been the official residence of the Siam Kings and Thai Kings since 1782. Until 1925 the King, his court and his royal government were all based within the grounds.
Today it is still used for official events, although today King Bhumiboi Adulyade resides at Chitralada palace.The palace construction was started in 1782 by King Buddha Yoda Chulaoke, who moved the capital from Thonburi to its present location in the heart of Bangkok.
Rather than being a single structure the palace is made up of many buildings, halls and pavilions, including the temple of the Emerald Buddha, whose home has changed many times with many “owners” and various Kingdoms..
Wat Phra Kaew is a royal chapel, not a Buddhist temple, situated within the grand palace walls. Your first impression is that the Buddha statue is quite small, built-in 1783, it was constructed in accordance with ancient tradition dating back to Wat Mahathat, the amazon chapel I saw in Sukhothai.
The emerald buddha itself is a figurine of the meditating Buddha, and is made of Green Jasper rather than actual emerald, emerald in Thai typically means green. Legend states that the Statue was created in India and to escape civil war was then taken to Sri Lanka. In 457 King Anuruth of Burmas requested the figurine and Buddhist scriptures to support Buddhism in his country, this was granted, although the ship lost its way in a storm and landed in Cambodia.
Then came its journey to Thailand, as the Thais captured Angkor Wat in 1432, the Emerald Buddha was then taken to Ayutthaya, then Laos and finally Chiang Rai, where it was hidden for safe keeping.
It’s then written that the statue surfaced in the Lannathai kingdom in Northern Thailand, hidden beneath a stucco. The stature stayed in Lamppang until 1468 when it was moved to Chiang Mai , where it remained until 1552, but the story doesn’t finish there, it was then moved to Luang Prabang, the then capital of the Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang, although the new King Settathirath decide to move it to his new capital at Vientiane, are you still with me?, from here it was looted in 1779 by the soon to be King of Siam Rama 1 and taken to the capital Thonburi.
There was one last journey when with great ceremony King Rama 1 moved the emerald Buddha to its current home Wat Phra Kaew on 22nd March 1784. The chaps had quite a journey and seems quite settled now, and I’ve enjoyed following his journey, maybe he is here in Bangkok for good now but you never know, its only been a couple of hundred years……