วันอาทิตย์ที่ 25 เมษายน พ.ศ. 2553
Wat Pho, Thailand's First University
Known officially as Wat Phra Chetupon Wimon Mangalaram Rajjawora-mahaviharn, Wat Pho is a grade-one royal temple built by King Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty following his instruction to make Bangkok's old Wat Photharam of the Ayutthaya Period a royal temple by the Grand Palace.
The name Wat Pho is clearly an abbreviated version of Wat Photharam of the Ayutthaya Period.Evidence in the inscription stones indicates that King Phra Buddha Yodfah Chulalok ordered the ministers and Krom Chang Sip Mu (the organization of the tencrafts) to oversee the repair of Wat Photharam. Seven years later, after the completion of the repair initiative, it was renamed Wat Phra Chetupon Wimon Mangalawas which underwent another change during the reign of King Rama IV when it was called Wat Phra Chetupon Wimon Mangalaram Rajjawora-mahaviharn.
Located west of the Grand Palace, the royal temple was built over an area of approximately 20 acres. The temple is dominated by 'Iuntun', the huge Chinese giant sculptures built to guard all the temple entrances. Each 'Iuntun' has a different feature. By word of mouth, Tha Tien is as flat as it is today because of the fight between the giants of Wet Chang (the Temple of Dawn) and Wat Pho with the giant of Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) acting as the referee. A related account suggests that the three giants must have been relative in size. 'Luntun', meanwhile, has been misunderstood for the giant of Wat Pho. In fact, the giant sculptures of Wat Pho, like those at Wat Phra Kaew, share the same characteristic with that of the giantess of the Ramayana. The only difference is that they are a lot smaller in comparison, thus become possible to encase them in the portico to the mondhop of the Buddhist Scripture Library.
The Health Park adjacent to the southern chapel and the 'mound of exercising hermit' - kao ruesee dud don, is yet another point of interest initiated during the reign of King Rama I who ordered the gathering of all the knowledge pertaining to traditional medicines and ancient skills from the Ayutthaya Period at the temple. The founder of the Chakri Dynasty believed the hermits' different exercise poses were relaxing therapeutic exercise that could ease physical pains and aches. Applying them to the indigenous belief which regards hermits highly as teachers of different sciences, he commissioned their sculptures in the tradition of the yoga discipline practiced by the holy men of the Sub-Continent, namely an artistic exercise aimed at maintaining a strong health.