This beauty is the reclining Buddha found at Wat Pho. Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. A fitting if unimaginative name!
As with all reclining Buddha’s, this one represented Buddha in his final stage of life, before death and ever-lasting nirvana. He was the biggest Buddha I have ever seen. Entirely covered in gold leaf (apart from his feet, which are inlaid with mother of pearl). That is a lot of gold! He is more than 40 metres long and 15 metres high. There was literally no way of getting a decent shot of all of him at once, using the little compact camera I was carrying on the day. I tried!!
Although I don’t have a shot which does it justice, the detail on his feet was particularly impressive. They are adorned with auspicious symbols and figures with which Buddha’s are associated, such as lotus flowers, elephants and tigers.
I also really liked the textured golden swirls which covered his head. Way too high to reach, but I thought they were crying out to be touched. I often think when I look at statues – whether wooden, marble, or gold-leaf coated – what tactile objects they are. Perhaps an inevitable consequence of something crafted painstakingly and lovingly by hand?
Wats are Buddhist monastery temples. This one is in the centre of Bangkok, Thailand. One of the oldest and largest Wats in Bangkok, it sits cheek-by-jowl with the Grand Palace. It is absolutely stuffed full of Buddha statues and images – over 1000 in fact. It was quite amazingly overwhelming. I didn’t know where to look first.
I took so long getting round Wat Pho that we never actually made it to the Grand Palace. Like most holiday makers and travellers, I do feel like we need to make the most of our much anticipated trips, and squeeze out every last drop of opportunity. But I also don’t just want to feel like I’m rushing round everywhere in order to progress through a list of top tourist hotspots. So maybe we’ll get to the Grand Palace next time? Wat Pho definitely warranted the extra time spent. Some might say it was golden.