The Wat Ratchanadda temple is located in Phra Nakhon district in Bangkok. The temple was said to be built by the King Rama III for his beloved nephew Prince Mom Chao Ying. The construction began in the King’s reign around 1846 and was only completed thirteen years ago in 1998. The finished Wat Ratchanadda is 36 meters high and renowned throughout the world for its uniqueness. The following are the notable parts of the temple that you should see:
- The Loha Prasat. The temple is most famous for its multi-tiered structure spires called Loha Prasat, which literally translates to metal castle. It has 37 cast-iron spires which represent the 37 virtues toward enlightenment. The architectural style looks almost like that of the Burmese but it was actually patterned from another Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. In fact, the temple is the third known Loha Prasada or Brazen Palace in existence: the others are found in India and Sri Lanka, where the Buddhist temple it closely resembles can be found.
- The Columns. At the ground floor, visitors of this temple will be able to observe as well the labyrinth of old Bangkok-style columns holding the towers up. There are so many columns forming numerous corridors that it’s easy to lose your way if the exterior hall cannot be seen from the inside. You can either explore this or go directly up the staircase.
- The Spiral Staircase. At the center tower, the huge spiral staircase is located. The staircase is a free-standing staircase made of metal interspersed with wood attached to it. The stairway ends at the fourth level roof from where you can observe the park across the street. At the fifth level roof, you can view the shrine at the top of the temple. Visitors are allowed to climb up all five floors leading from the staircase.
- The Amulet Market. Extending behind the temple is a very popular amulet market. The amulets sold here are said to be more expensive than at any other parts of the country. The vendors here have a thick collection of all kinds of amulets. They sell all kinds of jewelry and objects that are supposed to protect the wearer from bad luck and all kinds of negative forces. In the past, they also sold bhalik, an amulet that is supposed to attract wealth. Nowadays, however, this kind of lucky charm is hard to come by.
Finally, the Wat Ratchanadda is a quiet and peaceful temple away from the more touristy areas of Bangkok. Visiting the temple is a great way to examine the Thais’ religious beliefs and the great structure of the temple up close. But it’s good to remember that this temple, as well as the other temples in Thailand, is not a tourist attraction but a place of worship for the Buddhist Thais, so you should observe all the temple rules. It will not only be appreciated by the Thais, but will also be regarded as respect for their own religious philosophies.