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Wat Pho

Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple located in Bangkok; it is known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and those who wish to visit it will find it at the Rattanakosin district very close to the Grand palace.

Known to be the place where traditional Thai massage was done, the Wat Pho temple used to be a center of medical education and was named after a monastery where Buddha lived in India. Here, those who wanted to study traditional Thai medicine found the best teachers and techniques available. The temple was changed many times during the first three Rama kings, as it was renovated and even rebuilt to be larger during Rama III’s reign. One of the biggest recognitions of this temple is the fact that it is considered to be the first public university of Thailand as it was teaching its students various topics such as religion, science, or literature. Then in 1962 the temple became one of the earliest Thai massage schools and the inside has been made to remind practitioners of their creed; there are 60 plaques that are inscribed while 30 of them have the anatomy of the human body.

Located on an area of 80,000 square meters the temple contains more than a thousand Buddha images including one Buddha image that has 160 ft in length. The whole complex is divided into two walled compounds – the northern one where the huge Buddha image and the massage school is found and the southern one which is a Buddhist monastery and a school. Outside the complex there are also 91 chedis and four viharas and a bot. 71 one the chedis contain the ashes of the royal family and 21 contain the ashes of Buddha. The chedis are dedicated to the four Chakri kings and the gates around the complex are guarded by giant carvings of Chinese rock soldiers.

The Buddha statue is 15 meters high and is encrusted with glass mosaics and mother of pearl inlay. There are also 108 bronze bowls that indicate the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. People usually drop coins in these bowls as it will bring good fortune and help the monks maintain the site. If you come here you should also pay your respects even if you are not religious, just to show appreciation to the work done here. Also, a place like this is a must on any traveler’s map who wants to see the authentic Thailand.