Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan

The temple, which is officially named Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan and also known as “The Temple of the Golden Buddha” enshrines the massive solid gold Buddha image named Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon displaying the subduing Mara mudra.

Just a short walk from Yaowarat Road on the southeast end of Chinatown is Wat Traimit, one of the most noteworthy temples in the capital. The stunning building, also known as the Temple of the Golden Buddha, is home to a 5.5-tonne Sukhothai-style Buddha statue made entirely of gold and dates to the 14th century. The Buddha might be worth a fortune, but the entrance fee to see it is not. Sheer luck (or lack thereof) makes this attraction special. During the 1950s, the East Asiatic Company purchased the land around the temple. A condition of the sale was the removal of a plaster statue of Buddha, but the statue proved too heavy for the crane being used. The cable parted and the figure was dropped, being left overnight where it fell. It happened to be in the rainy season, and when next morning some monks walked past, they noticed a glint of gold shining through the plaster. The coating was removed, revealing a 3.5-meter Buddha cast from 5.5 tons of solid gold.

All attempts to trace the origin of this priceless statue have so far failed, but it is assumed to date from the Sukhothai period, when marauding invaders threatened the country and its treasures, and it became common practice to conceal valuable Buddha figures beneath a coating of plaster. No one knows how it came to Bangkok, but here it stands, available for the admiration of visitors from all over the world.

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