Wat Phra Kaew (“Temple of the Holy Jewel Image”), also spelled Wat Phra Kaeo and commonly known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is located on the ground of the Royal Palace in Bangkok. It is the most revered Buddhist shrine in Thailand.
Central to the temple is the Emerald Buddha, a dark green statue standing about 2 feet tall. No one is allowed near the statue except the Thai king, who conducts rituals at the temple throughout the year.
According to popular belief, the Emerald Buddha is ancient and came from Sri Lanka. Art historians, however, generally believe that it was crafted in 14th-century Thailand.
The much-revered Buddha image has traveled extensively over the centuries. The story goes that the Emerald Buddha was once kept covered in plaster in a monument in Chiang Rai, but a damaging lightning storm in 1434 uncovered the treasure.
The king of Chiang Mai tried very hard to procure the statute, but three times the elephant transporting the statute stopped at a crossroads in Lampang. Taking it as a sign from the Buddha, the statue was placed in a specially-built monumental temple in Lampang, where it stayed for 32 years.
The next king of Chiang Mai was more determined, succeeding in bringing the Emerald Buddha to his city. It was housed in a temple there until 1552, when Laotian invaders took it. The statue stayed in Laos for 214 years, until General Chakri (later King Rama I) brought it back to the Thai capital at Thonburi after his successful campaign in Laos.
In 1784, when he moved the capital across the river to Bangkok, King Rama I installed the precious figure in its present shrine, where it has remained as a tangible symbol of the Thai nation. It is feared that removal of the image from Bangkok will signify the end of the Chakri dynasty.
RAW captured by Nikon D90 and Tamron 70-300mm