November 17, 2017

3199 THAILAND (Bangkok) - Wat Saket in Bangkok

Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan is a Buddhist temple (wat) in Bangkok, which dates back to the Ayutthaya era, when it was known as Wat Sakae. When Bangkok became the capital, King Rama I (r. 1782-1809) renovated the temple and gave it its present name. King Rama III (r. 1824-1851) built a chedi inside Wat Saket, but it collapsed during construction because of the soft soil of Bangkok. Over time, the abandoned mud-and-brick structure acquired the shape of a low hill and was overgrown with weeds. The locals called it the Phu Khao Thong (Golden Mountain).

During the reign of King Rama IV (r. 1851-1868), began the construction of a small chedi on the hill. It was completed early in the reign of King Rama V (r. 1868-1910). A relic of the Buddha was brought from Sri Lanka and placed in the chedi. The surrounding concrete walls were added in the 1940s to stop the hill from eroding. The modern 58m chedi was built in the early 20th century of Carrara marble. In every year is held here a one-week festival during Loy Krathong.

To get to the top requires a climb up some 300 steps, which encircle the chedi like a loosely coiled snake. Before the uphill is an unusual cemetery built into the base of the Golden Mount. Covered in vines and overgrown trees, it emits a rather spooky out-of-era vibe. Perhaps this is because in the late 18th century, Wat Saket served as the capital's crematorium and the dumping ground for some 60,000 plague victims. Near the top of the hill, the traveler is welcomed by a wall of bells and panoramas of historic Bangkok.

About the stamp, issued to mark 48 years of ASEAN, I wrote here.

Wat Saket - Wikipedia
Wat Saket in Bangkok -

Sender: Pumipat
Sent from Bangkok (Bangkok / Thailand), on 03.11.2017

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