Wat Ratchanatdaram Worawihan
Wat Ratchanatdaram Worawihan and The Metal Castle
Zone: Rattanakosin (old city) 4kms from Siam
Attraction: photo stop, nestled among many Icons
Best times: morning for the temple markets, otherwise late afternoon and evening offers excellent photos. 2012-01 try the evening tour Old city night tram tour
A royal temples of the third grade. It's name means "Royal Niece" because it was built by King Rama III in 1846 for his niece, Princess Mom Chao Ying Sommanus Wattanavadi. She later became the queen and consort to King Rama IV, who built Wat Sommanat Worawihan to remember her. The name of the temple is variously written in English as Wat Ratchanaddaram, Wat Rajnadda and Wat Ratchanadda, among others. It is located between Ratchadamnoen Klang and Mahachai Roads, in the Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok, across Mahachai Road from the Golden Mount.
The viharn, or ordination hall, of Wat Ratchanatdaram is parallel to the canal. Built in the style of Rama III, the viharn has square supporting pillars around it. Inside it is a copper Buddha image. It was placed there in 1864 by King Rama III. King Rama IV named it Phra Setthamuni.
To the west of the viharn is Loha Prasa, or metal pagoda, which I describe in a page of its own.
There is an amulet market at Wat Ratchanaddaram. The amulets, or talisman, is wore as protection against malevolent spirits as well as to ward off misfortune. Most Thai people who are Buddhist carry at least one amulet with them at all times. The majority of these amulets bear the image of statues from famous wats. Some show holy men, Thai kings (the most popular being Rama V), and quite interestingly, a many-armed monk with his hands closing his eyes, his ears and his mouth, to give him better concentration, but to the outsider, appears like a human version of the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, say-no-evil monkey. Also common are Hindu deities.
In 2005, Wat Ratchanatdaram and the Loha Prasat were submitted to Unesco for consideration as a future World Heritage Site. Wat Ratchanatdaram is open daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm and admission is free.
The main for attraction for tourists visiting Wat Rachanadda Buddhist Temple in Bangkok must surly be the multi-tiered Loha Prasat Monastery or metal castle as it is known. It's inescapably the most striking feature here. The monastery is 36 metres high with 37 metal spires signifying 37 virtues toward enlightenment.
Loha Prasat first started it's life out in 1846 and was fashioned around an earlier Sri Lankan Temple. Originally conceived as a chedi to compliment the Wat, it has since evolved into an elaborate Meditation Chamber. Meditation cells can be seen at intersections dissected by passages on each level of the building. They all run from north to south and from east to west if this makes any sense to you.
The actual prasat itself consists of five concentric square towers with the outer, middle and center structures being crowned with cast iron spires hence the name Metal Castle. Supporting the towers at ground level are hefty laterite columns collectively forming an astonishing labyrinth of corridors. Inside you'll be amazed
Getting there: Wat Ratchanatdaram on Ratchadamnoen Klang Road, at the junction with Mahachai Road. The Skytrain and Metro DO NOT pass near here, the best way is Saen Saep Canal. or taxi. There are many other sights in this area, see zone link below. Opening hours: 9:00am-4:00pm Entrance fees: none