The Oldest Building in Bangkok
Last weekend, Charlotte Bodlaender from the Netherlands visited Wat Lak Muang, which she found to be a very special and unique place. Visitors to the nearby Grand Palace often overlook this colorful temple, but it has a special distinction in the city of Bangkok.
Wat Lak Muang, meaning the City Pillar Shrine, was the first building constructed when King Rama I made Bangkok the capital of his kingdom. According to ancient Thai belief, a city pillar needs to be installed upon the establishment of a new city to symbolize the stability of power. Surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and with the Grand Palace as a backdrop, in my opinion this decorated temple is well worth a visit.
Many people come to the shrine to pray. They show their strong love for their religion by covering the Buddha statues with gold leaf, filling oil lamps and draping spiritual objects with colorful netting. I watched worshipers burn incense and candles and offer food and lotus flowers. It was all very special and touching to me. I have visited many temples in my life (I’ve traveled to Asia since I was 11 years old) but the amount of offerings at this shrine was incredible. I was impressed by the amount of food they offered, included pig’s heads, plates full of fruit and several sweet patisseries.
Inside the shrine is a small Buddha statue that can predict whether one’s wish will come true. The wisher has to lift the Buddha twice and make a wish at the same time. If the wisher succeeds to lift the Buddha two times, Thai people believe the wish will come true. In one of the other buildings, Thai dancers in beautiful costumes performed classical Thai dance, I enjoyed watching them!
This temple may be forgotten sometimes in favor of the more famous royal palaces located nearby. However, this City Pillar Shrine of Bangkok is for me one of the most special and magnificent temples I have ever visited.