Wat Saket and the Golden Mount

26

Nov
2021

Wat Saket and the Golden Mount

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Built by Rama I in the late 18th century, Wat Saket is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok. Visitors come to climb the artificial hill topped with a golden tower within the grounds. Rama III built the first Golden Mount, but the soft soil led to its collapse. King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) provided the necessary technology to create the 250-ft (76-m) high representation of the mythical Mount Meru seen today. It is believed to house relics of the Buddha presented to Rama V by the Viceroy of India. A circular staircase lined with strange monuments and tombs leads to the top, where there is a small sanctuary. The wonderful panoramic view from the gallery takes in the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. The octagonal building opposite, Mahakan Fort, is one of 14 original watch towers of the city walls.

Until the 1960s the Golden Mount was one of the highest points in Bangkok. Today, it still forms a prominent landmark, although it is dwarfed by skyscrapers.

During the 19th century the grounds of Wat Saket served a macabre function as a crematorium. The bodies of the poor were sometimes left for vultures and dogs. By contrast, a fair with dancing and a candle procession is now held on the grounds in November.

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