Bangkok// The Grand Palace [part 2]
as promised, the rest of my visit to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. [see part 1 here]
let's talk about the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, pictured above. inside there is a Buddha statue carved from a single piece of jade. this statue was housed somewhere in Ayutthaya before the Burmese invasion, and legend says that the monks covered it in plaster to hide its value. the statue was moved, and for years no one realized what was underneath. then one day it was knocked over, cracking the plaster and revealing the Emerald Buddha. now it lives in its own special temple in the Grand Palace, and it known as the most sacred Buddhist site in Thailand.
I don't have a picture of the Emerald Buddha for you. mostly because you are not allowed to take pictures of it, but also because my camera battery died before I made it over to the temple itself. but there was still plenty that made it onto my memory card...
tangent: I had an eye-opening experience the other night. for the first time in my adult life, and certainly for the first time since experiencing southeast Asian culture and visiting Bangkok for the first time... we watched "The King and I." and I was moderately horrified at the misrepresentation of both Thai culture and the practices of Buddhism. so much that I'm struggling to write this post without mentioning it.
but I'm going to try not to preach at you. I'd like to think that my readers are both global citizens and independent thinkers, able to differentiate fiction and stereotypes from reality. and I hope we can agree that - thankfully - globalization has brought us all a better understanding of each other's cultures.
ok, end tangent. back to the pictures.
this golden tiered chedi and its mosaic-covered demon warriors was probably my favorite part of the entire Grand Palace complex. the detail in the armor just blows my mind... all the different colors and patterns. had I not been trying to conserve battery life, I could have snapped pictures of those guys all day.
seriously. this place is amazing. I really don't know what more I can say about it, other than: Thailand is amazing. you should go to Thailand, and you should visit the Grand Palace.
[and you should remember to bring a spare and fully charged camera battery.]