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10 General facts about Wat Arun

Santiago P

Source: Santiago P

Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple and one of the most famous landmarks of Bangkok. So here are 10 general facts about the Temple of Dawn:

  1. The entrance fee to Wat Arun is 100THB (Baht, about 3 dollar or 2.2 euro). It’s free for Thai people.
  2. The temple is open to the public daily from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. The quietest time to visit is early morning. But it’s beautiful lit at sunset. So don’t miss it!
  3. The temple is more than 300 years old, but it was not until the 19th century that Wat Arun got it’s current look with one central tower (prang) surrounded by 4 other smaller prang.
  4. The main tower rises 70 – 80 meters in height (there is some confusion about the real height). You can climb the steep stairs if you dare for beautiful views of Bangkok and the river.
  5. The design of the temple is Khmer style. A very steep stairway is a typical element of these style. From religious perspective a steep stairway can be interpreted as a “stairway to heaven”.
  6. The temple is named after Aruna, the Hindu God of dawn. He’s a personification of the reddish glow of the rising Sun, which is believed to have spiritual powers.
  7. The central tower symbolises Mount Meru of the Hindu cosmology. Mount Meru is home of the Gods and considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.
  8. The 4 smaller towers are devoted to the wind god, Phra Phai (also known as Vayu). He’s the deity of Life, extremely beautiful and carries a white banner. High up on the four smaller towers, you can see a statue of him, on his horse.
  9. The temple is beautifully decorated with tiny pieces of seashells, coloured glass and Chinese porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China. The use of ceramics and porcelain is intended to make the Temple glisten in the sun.
  10. Wat Arun is the final stop in Thailand’s Royal Barge Procession. It’s a ceremony of both religious and royal significance which has been taking place for nearly 700 years. The procession takes place rarely, typically coinciding with only the most significant cultural and religious events. The last one was in 2012.

Attention!: Public access to Bangkok’s Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) will be restricted over the next two years to allow for major renovation work to take place. The work will be carried out in stages and the temple will still remain open with just the parts undergoing renovation at that particular time to be off-limits. Work on the main central prang isn’t scheduled to commence until 2015.