Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images, as well as one of the largest single Buddha images at 150 feet (46 m) in length.

Official website: https://www.watpho.com/en/


Wat Pho is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples. It existed before Bangkok was established as the capital by King Rama I. It was originally named Wat Photaram or Podharam, from which the name Wat Pho is derived. The name refers to the monastery of the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India where Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment. The older temple is thought to have been built or expanded during the reign of King Phetracha (1688–1703), but the date and founder unknown. The southern section of Wat Pho used to be occupied by part of a french Star fort that was demolished by King Phetracha after the 1688 Siege of Bangkok. me Wat Pho is derived.

It is associated with King Rama I who rebuilt the temple complex on an earlier temple site and became his main temple where some of his ashes are enshrined. The temple was later expanded and extensively renovated by Rama III. The temple complex houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, including a 46 m long reclining Buddha.



Wat Pho was also intended to serve as a place of education for the general public. and houses a school of Thai medicine. It is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced at the temple.

On granite slabs, a pictorial encyclopedia has been engraved covering eight subject areas:

  • History
  • Medicine
  • Health
  • Customs
  • Literature
  • Proverbs
  • Lexicography
  • The Buddhist religion


The Temple complex

Phra Ubosot

Phra Ubosot or bot is the ordination hall, the main hall used for performing Buddhist rituals. It is the most sacred building of the complex.

Constructed by King Rama I in the Ayuthaya style, and later enlarged and reconstructed in the Rattanakosin style by Rama III. The bot was dedicated in 1791 before the rebuilding of Wat Pho was completed. This building is raised on a marble platform, and the ubosot lies in the center of the courtyard enclosed by a double cloister.

Phra Rabiang

Phra Rabiang is a double cloister which surrounds the ubosot; It contains 400 Buddha statues of different periods, brought from northern Thailand by Rama I, and whose appearance was uniformized by a covering of plaster and gold. They are placed inward and outward.

The four parts of the cloister are cut by 4 viharas (halls of worship), all of which contain Buddha statues from different periods, also brought back from other temples.

The eastern viharas contain an 8-meter-high Buddha from Ayutthaya and another Buddha seated under a tree, coming from Sawankhalok, from the Sukhothai period.

In the western viharas a seated Buddha is protected by a naga (cobra);

The southern viharas contain a Buddha in front of 5 disciples who listen to his first sermon: the two Buddhas were brought back from Sukhotai by Rama I.

Finally, the Buddha of the North Hall was created under the reign of Rama I.

At the 4 corners From the courtyard of the cloister are imposing Phra Prang, high towers covered with marble and containing Khmer-style statues depicting the guardian divinities of the four cardinal points.


Phra Prang

These are four towers, or phra prang, at each corner of the courtyard around the bot. Each of the towers is tiled with marbles and contains four Khmer-style statues which are the guardian divinities of the Four Cardinal Points.

Phra Chedi Rai

Outside the Phra Rabiang cloisters, are dotted many smaller chedis, called Phra Chedi Rai. Seventy-one of these small chedis were built by Rama III, every five meters in height. There are also four groups of five chedis that shared a single base built by Rama I, one on each corner outside the cloister. The 71 chedis of smaller size contain the ashes of the royal family, and 20 slightly larger ones clustered in groups of five contain the relics of Buddha.