February 17, 2014 – Day 195
In previous postings on this blog, I have shown you this structure as composed of Lego bricks and I have shown you the real thing from across the river (and all from the same post).
Today’s post is where I am able to show some details from our day visit to Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn.
Situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River (the main waterway that winds its way through Bangkok), Wat Arun is accessible to those of on the east bank by taking a ferry. For a simple fee of 3 Thai bhat (equivalent to a dime), a boat takes you over in under five minutes.
The majestic spire (or prang if you want to get all architecture-technical) that comprises the focus of the location is only one structure in a much larger complex. Wat Arun is a working Buddhist temple and there are other buildings around this site for monks to live, spaces for folk to pray and meditate, and areas of statuary.
The central prang (whose height Wikipedia puts down at either 219 feet (66.8 meters) or 282 (86 meters) feet…or 259 feet (79 meters) according to this site…really, how tough is it to ascertain the vertical measure of something that has been around for a few centuries?) is decorated with many figures.
An aspect of Wat Arun that is lost when looking at the structure as a whole (other than the fact that it is decorated with porcelain dining sets) is how steeps the steps are. Tourists are allowed to climb up Wat Arun and ascend to a second level. Be warned that the stairs are quite steep as I hope the picture below can testify to.
I know it just my Western TV-influenced mind, but when I look at the statue above, I can’t help but think he is saying to me, “Y’all come back now, y’hear.”