The Wat Phra Kaew Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the grounds of the Royal Thai Grand Palace is regarded as the most sacred Buddist temple in Thailand. The word ‘Wat’ means temple.
The Green Emerald Buddha Temple
The Green Emerald Buddha statue is clothed with garments made of gold. There are three different sets of gold clothing, which are changed by the King of Thailand in a ceremony that matched the changing of the three tropical Thailand seasons. The three sets of gold garments match Thailand’s summer season, rainy season, and cool season. It is an important Royal ritual performed to usher in good fortune to Thailand during each season. The two sets of gold clothing not in use at any given time are kept on display in the nearby Royal Grand Palace Museum on the grounds of the Grand Palace, where the public may view them.
The Emerald Buddha, which is believed to have been created in India in 43 BC, travelled to Sri Lanka three hundred years later, then to Cambodia in 457 AD, to Ayutthaya in 1434 following the capture of Angkor Wat, to Chiang Saen a hundred years later, to Chiang Rai, then to Lamphang until 1468, to Chiang Mai until 1552, to Luang Prabang until 1564, to the new capital in Vientiane until 1779, and finally to Thonburi until 22 March, 1784, when it was installed at Wat Phra Kaew temple in the grounds of the Thai Royal Grand Palace, in Rattanakosin, Bangkok where it stays to this day. It is kept in the main building of the temple, called the Ubosoth.
It is compulsory to remove the shoes before entering the temple, as a sign of respect of the Buddha. It is rude to display the soles of your feet towards the Buddha. While offering prayers before the Buddha image, the Thai’s sit with there feet tucked in pointing backwards to avoid any offensive stretching of feet towards the deity. There is no photography allowed in the temple building that houses the Emerald Buddha.