Siam Society hosts temple tour
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Siam Society hosts temple tour

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Siam Society hosts temple tour
Wat Ratchabophit. (Photo courtesy of Supanut Hatchaleelaha)

Siam Society is holding a study trip to three royal temples in Bangkok built during the Rattanakosin period, on June 8.

Led by Prof Emeritus Momrajawongse Suriyavudh Sukhavasti, the trip will allow participants to see Chinese and Western elements in the temple complex of Wat Suthat Thepwanaram, Wat Ratchapradit and Wat Ratchabophit. Temple complexes are a collection of buildings serving various purposes.

There are over 30,000 temples in Thailand and each period of history saw modification of temple architecture. However, the basic layout of most temples follows set principles, as do the functions of different buildings.

Wat Suthat has the largest wihan in Bangkok and its art and architecture beautifully exemplify the Rattanakosin style. Constructed in 1807 by King Rama I and completed by Rama III, the temple is notable for its 8m-high main Buddha image, which is one of the largest surviving Sukhothai bronzes.

Wat Ratchapradit was built in the mid 19th-century by King Rama IV, whose East-meets-West taste in architecture is apparent in the choice of building materials. The buildings and the chedi are covered with grey marble and the interior murals depict the festivals of the Thai lunar calendar.

Standing out for its remarkable blend of Thai and Western architectural elements, Wat Ratchabophit's complex is splendidly decorated with made-to-order porcelain tiles from China. While the door and window panels of the ubosot are decorated with typically Thai mother-of-pearl inlay, the carved painted guards on the doors are distinctively European. The interior is also decorated in an incongruous Italian Renaissance style.

The fee is 3,500 baht (3,000 baht for members). Email studytrips@thesiamsociety.org or call 02-661-6470--3 ext 205.

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