Wat Traimit (19th c. buildings, 13th c. statue)
Wat Traimit from the outside is relatively plain, but it is of great interest and value because it houses the Golden Buddha, a solid gold image that weighs over five and a half tons (some suggest five tons). It is, as one might assume, the largest golden Buddha image in the world and is a most valued treasure of Thailand and of Buddhism.
The Golden Buddha was probably a product of the Sukhothai period in the 13th century that eventually was placed in an Ayutthaya temple. To camouflage it from Burmese invaders, it was given a thick plaster coating and was consequently "lost." The encased statue was moved to Bangkok and installed as the principal Buddha image in the main building of the Choti-naram Temple, or Wat Phrayakrai, during the reign of the third Chakri king, Rama III [Phra Nang Klao], (1824-51). The temple was deserted about 1931, and plaster-covered Buddha was moved to a temporary shelter in Wat Traimit. In the mid-1950's (some say 1955; others say 1957), as it was being moved to its permanent building, the rain soaked figure was dropped, and the stucco cracked to reveal the figure inside.
The Golden Buddha, in the mara conquering attitude, has a height of 15 feet 9 inches, including the base, from the base to the top of the crown. The statue alone is about 10 feet high. It is 12 feet 9 inches in diameter.
All images copyright 2000 by Professor Robert D. Fiala of Concordia University, Nebraska, USA
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