The Golden Buddha Image at Wat Traimit in Chinatown

I went to see the Golden Buddha Image at Wat Traimit in Bangkok’s Chinatown about two years ago. I was very deeply impressed by the Golden Buddha. In fact, so much impressed that I nearly forgot taking photos of the Buddha and of Chinatown itself 😉

Wat Traimit*

Wat Traimit, check out the full name of this temple*

After strolling around in Chinatown, I went to Wat Traimit Witthayaram where the Golden Buddha Image is located. Hence, across the main entrance of Wat Traimit you find the prominent Odeon circle and the archway to Chinatown.

Entrance of Wat Traimit*

Entrance of Wat Traimit*

To come back to the the Golden Buddha, it is in fact the largest Golden Buddha statue in the world and more than 700 years old. The Buddha’s official name is Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon (in Thai: พระพุทธมหาสุวรรณปฏิมากร). Thus, the Golden Buddha is in the Mara conquering attitude which is the typical artistic style of Sukhothai (i.e the period from the 13th century to the beginning of the 15th century). What is more, the Buddha’s head is egg-shaped which is also a typical feature of the Sukhothai period. Consisting of pure gold, this Buddha Image is unrivalled in size, value and beauty. It is more than 15 feet high and weights about 5,5 tons. The price value is 28,5 million pounds.

Golden Buddha Image

The Golden Buddha image*

The Golden Buddha Image*

As a matter of fact, the Golden Buddha is one of the most valuable treasure of Thailand and of Buddhism. In addition, the temple also has some fine and stunning architecture to offer.

Amazing architecture inside the temple*

Amazing architecture inside the temple*

It is important to note that the Buddha was originally covered with plaster in order to hide and conceal it from invading enemies. In the third reign of the Chakkri Dynasty, the Golden Buddha was installed in the main temple building of Choti-naram Temple which is also known as Wat Phrayakrai in Yannawa District, Bangkok.

Inside the Wat Traimit museum*

Inside the Wat Traimit museum*

In the early 1930s, the Buddha was moved to Wat Traimit Witthayaram Temple by the East Asian Company. However, it was first in 1955 that people discovered that the Buddha was made of pure gold. When the Buddha was moved into the building, part of the covering plaster cracked and that was when the Golden Buddha Image was discovered!

Mythical lion guardian in front of the temple*

Mythical lion guardian in front of the temple*

Since the Golden Buddha statue was discovered very close to the commemoration of the twenty-fifth Buddhist Era, i.e. 2500 years since Gautama Buddha’s passing, the Thai news media was full of reports and hence it is no wonder that many Buddhists regarded the occurrence as miraculous.

The new building at Wat Traimit, Chinatown, Bangkok*

The new building at Wat Traimit, Chinatown, Bangkok*

Hence, the Buddha at Wat Traimit has been treasured for its historical, artistic and cultural values. When I went to this temple, my aunt gave to me a silver necklace with a small Golden Buddha pendant. I truly love this necklace and have been wearing it nearly every day since I’ve got it.

Have you ever been to Bangkok to see the Golden Buddha Image at Wat Traimit? Is not it majestic? 🙂

The temple bells*

The temple bells*

You may also want to check out the official site of Wat Traimit here for some more information. By the way, another popular Buddha Image in Bangkok is the Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho.

Yours, Sirinya

(*photo credit: Amporn Konglapumnuay)

Traditional Thai Dresses Part I

Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by the amazingly gorgeous traditional Thai dresses. The Thai national or traditional dress is called ‘Chut Thai phra ratcha niyom’ (ชุดไทยพระราชนิยม) in Thai which means ‘Thai dress of royal endorsement’. This kind of dress (chut Thai) is commonly worn on formal occasions as national costume.

traditional dresses at Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles

Traditional Thai dresses at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, Bangkok, Thailand*

Today we can distinguish between eight different styles of Thai national dresses. They are said to have originated in the mid 20th century. In fact, when HM Queen Sirikit accompanied the King in state visits to Western countries in 1960, she realized the need for a modern national costume. Thus, Queen Sirikit had research conducted concerning historical records of royal dresses. Consequently, eight official designs were developed and also promoted by HM Queen Sirikit herself.

I will focus on traditional (national) Thai dresses for women but of course there are also national attire for men. I have divided this article into two parts, simply because there is so much material and information. Hence, I think it is better to have smaller ‘bites’ 😉

Traditional Thai dresses

Traditional Thai dresses featured in this post (photo credit: bangkokpost.com)

Traditional Thai Dresses

1. Chut Thai Chakkri

Chut Thai Chakkri is a very formal and elegant dress. This kind of garment is usually produced by using the Yok weaving technique. A special feature of the Yok weaving method is that it creates additional thickness within the fabrics without adding extra threads. In the Chakkri Style, the ‘Pha-Sin’, that is the ‘Pha-Noong’ or skirt, is a full length wrap skirt. This skirt has two pleated folds in front which are called ‘Na- Nang’.

chakkri style Thai dresschakkri style Thai dressChakkri style dresses*

Traditional Thai dress, Chakkri (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

Traditional Thai dress, Chakkri (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)

2. Chut Thai Boromphiman

Like Thai Chakkri, Thai Boromphiman is also a formal evening attire. It can be worn in formal ceremonies and royal functions. The Boromphiman comprises a long sleeved round necked buttoned blouse which is tucked beneath the ankle length ‘Pha-Noong’ skirt with its front pleats (‘Na-Nang’). The blouse and the skirt are sown together so that they form a one piece traditional dress. The Boromphiman is made of brocaded fabrics in order to create a very luxurious appearance.

thai boromphiman dressthai boromphiman dressBoromphiman dresses*

3. Chut Thai Siwalai

The Thai Siwalai is a formal evening gown similar to the Boromphiman and the Chakkri. The only difference between these Thai traditional dresses is that the Siwalai has a shawl draped over the long- sleeved blouse. This shawl is also called ‘sbai’ in Thai. Chut Thai Siwalai is worn in royal ceremonies and other formal occasions. By the way, the term siwalai was derived from the English word ‘civilized’.

thai siwalai dressqueen sirikit in thai siwalai dress

Thai Siwalai dress & HM Queen Sirikit in Thai Siwalai dress around 1950*

4. Chut Thai Chakkraphat

First of all, it is important to mention that ‘Chakkraphat’ means emperor in Thai language. Hence, Thai Chakkraphat is an official and conservative traditional dress with a shawl similar to Chakkri. Nevertheless, it appears even more put together than the Thai Chakkri dress because the shawl is thicker, richly embroidered and decorated with beautiful ornaments. It can be worn in royal or national ceremonies.

thai chakraphat, thai traditional dress of queen sirikit of thailandthai chakkraphat dress

Thai Chakkraphat dresses*

In the following part, I will feature the remaining four styles of traditional Thai dresses. Hence, stay tuned if you like these amazingly beautiful garments! Or click here to check it out immediately 🙂 It is also interesting to note that today the Siamese Fashionista group tries to encourage young Thais to dress traditionally.

Yours, Sirinya

(*All photos in this post are from the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles unless otherwise stated, a further source about traditional dresses in Thailand is here)