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Visit the Inimitable Grand Palace

This impeccable complex also includes the Temple of the Emerald Buddha

The Grand Palace, with its majestic pagodas, giant-sized guardians, colorful murals, and exquisitely wrought sculptures, was a bold attempt to equal the glories of the palace in the former royal capital of Ayutthaya, circa the 16th century. In some ways it may even surpass the original. Extending over an area of almost a million square meters, and fortified by walls built back in 1783, the palace, which adjoins the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is Thailand's number-one tourist attraction.

The presence of all these snap-happy tourists, however, has done little to diminish its grandeur; and many Thais still come to pay their respects and seek blessings, giving a dose of reality to this regally Buddhist fantasia, even if there are no monks quartered here.

The complex is renowned for containing the country's holiest of holies, the Emerald Buddha, a surprisingly small image.

At the entrance to the actual palace, two guardian demons stand sentry beside it. Like the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, this group of lavish buildings was constructed in 1782, and served as the official residence of His Majesty the King until 1946. However, King Rama V was the last monarch to actually live here in the early 20th century.

 

Published on Sep 7, 2009

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