The Buddhist Temple of Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan better known by its shortened name of Wat Saket is one of Thailands most popular attractions bringing tourists from all across the globe to its stunningly beautiful gates. The Temple was built during the Ayutthaya era being known as Wat Sakae. After King Rama I named Bangkok the capital of Thailand, he also ordered a series of renovations for all major temples including Wat Saket.
The Wat Saket compound’s main feature is Phu Khao Thong also known as the Golden Mountain. It is a human made hill that was erected inside the temple’s gates during its construction.
The hill came to be by accident after King Rama I’s grandson, King Rama III decided to add some features to the temple. He wanted to build a gigantic chedi inside the grounds of Wat Saket. Unfortunately that project was never completed as the soft Bangkok soil was nowhere near hard enough to sustain a structure of the chedi’s weight. After the structure collapsed midway through the construction process the site was abandoned alltogether. The mud and brick ruins were quickly overrun by vegetation giving the impression of a small hill. During King Rama the IV the construction of a smaller chedi was ordered, this time on top of the small hill formed by the mud and vegetation covered ruins of the original chedi project. The chedi was completed during the reign of his son Rama the V at the beginning of the 20th century. A Buddha relic was brought over from Sri Lanka and was placed inside the chedi.
To fortify the fragile artificial hill the temple was placed on, concrete walls were added. They helped the hill structurally and prevented its erosion due to weather elements. The current design and decoration of the temple was built during the early parts of the 20th century with tons of Carrara marble being used.
The temple is currently more than just a tourist attraction as an annual festival is held here every November. During the religious celebration a candlelight procession is made up the Phu Khao Thong hill to the chedi situated on top of it.
Phy Khao Thong’s popularity has grown over the years with more and more tourists being able to appreciate its stunning design and pleasant features. It is more than just a tourist attraction being also considered a true symbol of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok even by its natives.