Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

May 31, 2012

2012, JAN 3: THAILAND, BANGKOK - Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Today was our last day in Thailand. After breakfast, we went out to see the Chapel of the Reclining Buddha.

We took subway part of the way, and completed rest of the trip to our destination of the day by tuk-tuks.

Built originally in the 16th century, and rebuilt and expanded twice since then, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha complex is Bangkok’s the oldestand largest one.

Besides the chapel of the Reclining Buddha, the complex includes 91 Stupas, a Buddha Temple, and the traditional Thai massage and medicine teaching center.

The solid mounds of the large Stupas (or Chedis) are said to contain ashes of the Buddha. The smaller ones have those of the Thai kings.

On the back of the Buddha Temple has a large bronze image of the Buddha. It was brought here from the former Thai capital at Ayutthaya. Scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana are carved into the outer base and inner doors.

The entrance and two side wings of the Buddha Temple enshrine smaller images of sitting Buddha. All images are gilded.

Built of brick and plaster, the image in the Reclining Buddha Chapel is gilded with gold leaf. It is more than 150 ft long and more than 50 ft high.

Mother-of pearl inlays depict the 108 auspicious characteristics of Buddha on the feet of the image.
A wall behind the image is lined with 108 bronze bowls to represent these auspicious characteristics. Devotees seek the Buddha’s blessings by dropping coins in these bowls.
Temple walls and doors are full of religious painting and ornamental embellishments.

To complex also has its own Bodhi Tree, in a gated enclosure. Below the tree is a small open-air shrine. Doors of the enclosure have painted images of guardian deities.
Chinese giants guard the temple complex gates. Carved out of rocks, these statues are said to have been originally imported as ballast on ship trading with China.

Near the temple people were writing their wishes and prayers on clay tiles. The the tiles would be used in the renovation of th etemple-complex.
By the time we were done there, we were hungry.
We decided to have lunch at the Thai Cultural Complex. After tuk-tuk and subway rides, and considerable walking, when we finally located the Cultural Center, to our disappointment we found it had been closed.

Much exploration of the area on foot led us, finally around 6 p.m., to a place, where some of us had Pizza lunch. Others brought in food from the nearby fast-food joint.

Then we headed back to our hotel, to get ready for our 1:45 a.m. flight to Seoul, on our way back homes in the United States.

Finally, let me end this travel blog with a commentary on English language, entitled, “English is really crazy”, which I found in The New Light of Myanmar newspaper of Sunday, December
17, 2011:

“There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins were not invented in England or French Fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat…..quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

“And why is that writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. One moose, 2 meese? One index, two indices? Is cheese the plural of choose?

“If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

“In what language do people recite at a play, and play at a recital?

“Ship by truck, and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run, and feet that smell? Park on driveways, and drive on parkways? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can the weather be hot as hell one day, and cold as hell another?

“When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill a form by filling it out, and an alarm clock goes off by going on,

“When the stars are out, they are visible, but whne the lights are out they are invisible.
And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.”


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