You may remember that we recently saw the world’s largest, outdoor, seated, bronze Buddha in Hong Kong.
Here in Bangkok, there is the world’s largest solid gold Buddha.
This Buddha was cast in the 1300s, and spent a significant portion of its time covered in plaster (to protect it from marauding armies).
In 2007, the king celebrated his 80th birthday, and to commemorate the event, he built a new home for the giant golden Buddha.
It is 3 meters tall (nearly 10 feet) and weighs 5.5 tonnes (12,125 pounds). But, what I really love about it is this:
In the early 1930s, reconstruction works in the banks of the Chao Phraya river near Chinatown required the destruction of an old abandoned temple that housed a stucco-painted gold statue of Buddha. Despite the fact that the statue was not so attractive, its destruction was not an option. Thus it was decided to move it to Wat Traimit, a pagoda of minor relevance (like hundreds of other Buddhist temples that exist in Bangkok), keeping the statue in Chinatown. The temple didn’t have a building big enough to house the statue, so it was kept for 20 years under a simple tin roof.
In 1955 a new building was built and the monks decided to install the statue inside it. A crane was supposed to move the statue carefully, but a cable broke and the statue fell in the mud, an event that was seen as a bad omen by the workers, who ran away from the place, leaving the statue on the soil. It was the rainy season and, as for confirming the bad omen, a terrible storm came and it lasted the whole night, flooding the whole city.
At the dawn of the next day, the abbot of the temple came to evaluate the damage and started removing the mud. He observed that the wet plaster was cracked and under it was a statue made of solid gold.
(That’s not the giant one – it’s a replica.)
With that kind of story, you can’t not go see something.
So, after stopping at the main train station to book our tickets to Chiang Mai, we went to check out the Golden Buddha.