March 11, 2017

1650, 2980 THAILAND (Bangkok) - Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha

2980 Wat Pho

Posted on 11.06.2015, 11.03.2017
Named after a monastery in India where Buddha is believed to have lived, Wat Pho (known also as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha), is a Buddhist temple in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok, directly adjacent to the Grand Palace. Prior to the temple's founding, the site was a centre of education for traditional Thai medicine, and statues were created showing yoga positions. An enormous Buddha image from Ayuthaya's Wat Phra Si Sanphet was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767; King Rama I (1782-1809) incorporated its fragments to build a temple to enlarge and renovate the complex.

1650 Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho

The complex, also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, was restored and extended in the reign of King Rama III, and again in 1982. It consists of two walled compounds bisected by Soi Chetuphon running east-west. The northern one is where the reclining Buddha and massage school are found, and the southern one (Tukgawee) is a working Buddhist monastery with monks in residence and a school. Outside the temple, the grounds contain 91 chedis (stupas or mounds), four viharas (halls) and a bot (central shrine).

The temple has sixteen gates around the complex guarded by Chinese giants carved out of rocks. These statues were originally imported as ballast on ship trading with China. The outer cloister has images of 400 Buddhas out of the 1200 originally bought by king Rama V. In terms of architecture, these are varied in different styles and postures, but these are evenly mounted on matching gilded pedestals. The image of reclining Buddha is 15m high and 43m long with his right arm supporting the head with tight curls on two box-pillows of blue, richly encrusted with glass mosaics.

The 3m high and 4.5m long foot of Buddha displays are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. They are divided into 108 arranged panels, displaying the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified like flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories. Over the statue is a seven tiered umbrella representing the authority of Thailand. There are 108 bronze bowls in the corridor indicating the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. People drop coins in these bowls as it is believed to bring good fortune, and to help the monks maintain the wat.

About the stamps
On the postcard 1650
The first stamp is one of the four which form the series Thai Heritage Conservation Day 1997. They were issued as annual commemorative stamps in honour of H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and depict Phanom Rung Historical Park: Outermost Stairway, Pavilion, Passage and Stairway leading to the Sanctuary, Naga Balustrade and the Central Gate of the Eastern Gallery. The last stamp is part of the series Centennial Anniversary of the State Railway of Thailand, issued in 1997.

On the postcard 2980
The first stamp is part of the series National Children's Day 2008 Commemorative Stamps, issued on January 12, 2008. The stamps depict 5 selections which were awarded in the 20th Asian International Stamp Exhibition (BANGKOK 2007) Postage Stamp Painting Competition. All have the same face values, 3 THB.
• Kemtis Kumsrijan (Baan Pukan Home of Children's Art, Bangkok)
• Natapol Saelim (Anuban Patai Wittaya School, Nakhonpatom)
• Sirada Chokeyangkul (St.Luice School, Chacheongsao)
• Salinthip Jitnak (Baan Silapa Rak Sin School) - It's on the postcard 2980
• Amornthep Jitnak (Pakchong School, Nakhonratchasrima)

The second stamp is part of the series International Year of the Ocean - Marine Mammals, issued on July 19, 1998.
Irrawaddy dolphin / Orcaella brevirostris (2 THB)
Common bottlenose dolphin / Tursiops truncatus (3 THB)
Sperm whale / Physeter macrocephalus (6 THB) - It's on the postcard 2980
Dugong / Dugong dugong (9 THB)

The last stamp is part of a series depicting rabbits, about which I don't know anything.

Wat Pho - Wikipedia

Sender1650, 2980: Pumipat
Sent from Bangkok (Bangkok / Thailand), on 09.05.2015
Sent from Bangkok (Bangkok / Thailand), on 27.02.2017

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