In a city of olives and angels, sneaking in and out of temples

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetGiant golden reclining Buddha located in the edge of Ayutthaya

Once an ancient trading village, Bangkok used to be called Bang Makok whose literal name means “a place of olive plums.”

The city’s official name though is how locals call it but it’s not just a name, but a tribute, a birthday dedication, a eulogy, a chant which when translated reads: “The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.”

The people of the world settled for Bangkok.

My first time in Bangkok was in 2004 when I attended a seminar. I remember being both bewildered and overwhelmed by the Buddhist faith and culture (all strange and strangely appealing to me) while simply walking around Rachadamri Road on my way to and from the hotel, observing people as they mill around shrines. Many years later — not immediately known to me that this began 13 years ago; I did not even enter one temple since Rachadamri is a district more business than cultural — I discovered that I have a burgeoning interest in mindfulness, Zen and Buddhism in general. That first trip to Thailand, as cliches might dictate, changed my life.

So it was apparent and frankly quite unavoidable — when you venture into the cultural spots — that my next visit would take me in, out and around all the wat my time in Bangkok would allow me to visit.

Marble steps leading to Wat Chanasongkhram

Buddha statues inside Wat Chanasongkhram

Friends ambling around temples

Ancient ruins towering over Ayutthaya greens

Quick shoot around the ruins

Gilden glory in Wat Pho

An artist painting the giant reclining Buddha against the setting afternoon sun

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