Giant 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