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Time Required : 1 - 2 hours

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Wat Bowonniwet Vihara, Bangkok Overview

Founded in 1826, Wat Bowonniwet Vihara, also known as Wat Bowon, is a temple dedicated to the Thammayut sect of Buddhism. It's particularly popular as many kings of Thailand were monks and abbots here, such as King Rama IV and King Bhumibol, popularly known as Rama IX. It is also the resting place of King Bhumibol.

The Wat Pavaranivesh Rajavaravihara, also known as Wat Bowonniwet, is located in the Phra Nakhon District. It is an essential centre of Theravada Buddhism and continues to be revered by the royal family and the locals alike. The temple has fantastic architecture, and the design reflects influence from China. Attractions include statues of the Buddha and several buildings used by the monastic order. It is an amalgamation of culture and religious sovereignty, and is a must-visit for all those trying to experience Thai culture! Apart from its most visible and gorgeous golden chedi, there are many murals which include the Thai depictions of western life.

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Wat Bowonniwet Vihara History

Buddha Statue at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
Wat Bowonniwet Vihara is the Site of the Ordination of Generations of the Thai Royal Family
(Source)
The Wat Bowonniwet Vihara was built during the reign of Rama III. Its patrons are rulers of the Chakri Dynasty. In 1836, Prince Bhikkhu Mongkut became the first abbot (of Thammayut Nikkaya Order) of the temple. He was later crowned as King Rama IV. The temple has therefore held political significance throughout the years. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, popularly known as King Rama IX, resided here for 15 days, and his ashes have been interred here. Other than royals, prominent personalities, such as the exiled dictator and former Prime Minister Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn, have also lived here.

Architecture

Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
Wat Bowonniwet Vihara Combines Thai and Chinese Architecture
(Source)
The Wat Bowonniwet Vihara complex is a fusion of Thai and Chinese architectural designs. Its walls are hand-painted. Attractions in the complex include the Scripture Library (Tripataka), Bodhi Tree building, royal residences, monks’ living quarter and Bell Tower. It also houses a shrine hall for a Buddha statue, that has been dated to 1357. Several golden chedis in the complex contain relics of the previous rulers.

However, some of these are closed to the public. The temple houses a 12,000 pound, solid-gold Buddha statue. Legend has it that this plaster covered icon has protected it from plunderers for almost 200 years now. The plaster later cracked, and the golden Buddha was revealed underneath. Other attractions include the Green Stone Buddha from Dvaravati Period (6th to 13th centuries), the reclining Buddha and the Buddha footprint.

How To Reach Wat Bowonniwet Vihara

Wat Bowonniwet Vihara Bangkok Thailand
Wat Bowonniwet Vihara is Located in the
Phra Nakhon District of Bangkok in Thailand
(Source)
Wat Bowonniwet Vihara is located in the Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok, close to the famous Khao San Road. Visitors may take the Hop on Hop Off River tour, getting off at the Phra Arthit Express Boat Pier, located one and a half kilometre away from the temple. Visitors may also avail bus 516, getting off at Banglamphu Bus Stop 1, a 2-minute walk from the temple. From the Grand Palace, a metered taxi takes between THB 50 and THB 100 to reach the Wat Bowonniwet Vihara.

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