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Wat Arun

The Temple of Dawn is situated on Thonburi on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruṇa, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. Wat Arun is among the best known of Thailand’s landmarks. Although the temple has existed since at least the 17th century, its distinctive prang (spire) was built in the early 19th century during the reigns of Rama II and Rama III.

Monks and Scooters

The main feature of Wat Arun is its central prang, which is encrusted with colorful porcelain. This is interpreted as a stupa-like pagoda encrusted with colored faience. The height is reported by different sources as between 66.8 m (219 ft) and 86 m (282 ft). The corners are surrounded by four smaller satellite prang. The prang are decorated by shells of Mauritia mauritiana and bits of porcelain, which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.

The Rising Waters of Chao Phraya River

The central prang is topped with a seven-pronged trident, referred to by many sources as the “Trident of Shiva”. Around the base of the prang are various figures of ancient Chinese soldiers and animals. Over the second terrace are four statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on Erawan. In Buddhist iconography, the central prang is considered to have three symbolic levels—base for Traiphum indicating all realms of existence, middle for Tavatimsa, the Tusita Heaven where all desires are gratified, and the top denoting Devaphum indicating six heavens within seven realms of happiness. At the riverside are six pavilions (sala) in the Chinese style. The pavilions are made of green granite and contain landing bridges.

Wat Arun
Ordination Hall’s Entrance
Ordination Hall