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May 23, 2013

【Thai Temples】Wat Traimitr Withayaram (Golden Buddha Temple)

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Temple: Wat Traimitr Withayaram(วัดไตรมิตร)
Abbot: Phra Phomwethee (พระพรหมเวที)  

Wat Traimitr Withayaram is classifid as the second class of royal temple "Woraviharn"(วรวิหา), situated at the end of Chinatown's Yaowarat Road in Bangkok. It was formerly named as Wat Sam Chin (Three Chinese Temple), after three Chinese donors who contributed their properties to build the temple (Chin means Chinese in Thai language).

The main Buddha enshrined in Wat Traimitr is the Sukothai Traimit Golden Buddha. It was recorded as the biggest golden Buddha statue by Guiness World Records. The Golden Buddha statue measures 3.01 meters across the lap from knee to knee and 3.91 meters from base to top. A peculiarity of the statue is that it can be taken to 9 pieces. The original Golden Buddha was covered with stucco and plaster at its outer part, and enshrined in Wat Mahathat (วัดมหาธาตุ) in Sukothai period.

Golden Buddha reflects the art culture during the Sukothai period and it has history of more than 700 years. Towards the end of the 18th century after King Rama I estabished Bangkok as the new capital, he ordered the removal of all important Buddha images from the North to Bangkok lest they might suffer damage since the northern region was not yet pacified. However there were too many Buddha statues to be shifted at that time. The Prime Minister had covered the Golden Buddha with stucco and enshrined it at his own built temple. Later the Golden Buddha was shifted and enshrined at Wat Phraya Krai (วัดพระยาไกร) (Wat Chotikaram).

Later, Wat Phraya Krai became dilapidated and without monks resided in it. The Asiatique company had rented the land for its factory. Thus the Golden Buddha was moved to enshrine at Wat Traimit. However, the new Buddha hall was not completely built and it was then placed beside the pagoda temporarily close to 20 years.

Its outer part was covered with stucco and was huge and heavy. Although many temples would like to enshrine it but they found it hard to move it. When the new Buddha hall was fully built, the Golden Buddha was hung to shift it to the upper part of the building. However the Golden Buddha was accidentally dropped as the sling was broken. The stucca which concealed the Golden Buddha was broken and its golden body was then only discovered and seen.

Abbot: Pra Maha Pra Phomwethee
Dharma name: Chuan Panyo

Master is not only the abbot of Wat Traimit, he also contributed a lot to the societies. He is also an elder in Thai monks committee. He also serves as a member in Thai monks go abroad managing center. He was promoted as the level of Pra Maha monk in BE2544.


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