- Type: Culture
- Localyte author: Dr. Clemens Bechter
- This Wat or Buddhist temple is an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. In the mythology of Tibetan Buddhism, Mount Meru is a place that simultaneously represents the center of the universe and the single-pointedness of mind sought by adepts. Thousands of miles in height, Meru is located somewhere beyond the physical plane of reality, in a realm of perfection and transcendence. The four-corner prang of Wat Arun, which house images of the guardian gods of the four directions, reinforces this mystical symbolism. The long, elongated, Khmer-style Prang or tower, and four minor towers symbolize the terrestrial representation of the thirty-three heavens. It is possible to walk a limited way up the very steep stairs of the main prang, which gives a reasonable view of the Chao Phraya river. These steep steps lead to the two terraces that form the base of the Prang. The different layers, or heavens, are supported by Kinnaree or half-humans, and frightening Yaksas, or demon guards. Pavilions on the first platform contain priceless statues of the Buddha at the most important stages of his life. On the second terrace four statues of the Hindu god Indra or Erawan, his thirty-three headed elephant, stand guard. The main Buddha image inside the Bot is believed to have been designed by King Rama II himself, but the murals date from the reign of King Rama V.
- The description was provided by Dr. Clemens Bechter
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