Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing



Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing

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There are several superlatives for Wat Suthat, a temple that was begun by Rama I in 1807 and completed by Rama III. Its wihan is the largest in Bangkok. The art and architecture beautifully exemplify Rattanakosin style. Its central Buddha, at 26 ft (8 m) high, is one of the largest surviving Sukhothai bronzes. This image was moved from Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai to Bangkok by Rama I.

The murals in the immense wihan are some of the most celebrated in Thailand. Amazingly intricate, they depict the Traiphum (Buddhist cosmology) and were restored in the 1980s. The teak doors to the wihan are carved in five delicate layers and stand 18 ft (5.5 m) high. (One made by Rama II is now in the National Museum.) The cloister around the outside of the wihan is lined with 156 golden Buddha images.

The square in front of Wat Suthat used to feature the Giant Swing, the remains of a swing used for a Brahmin ceremony. After standing for 224 years, this was moved in 2007 to Devasathan Brahmin temple and replaced by a new swing made from six 100-year-old teak trees.

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