Marble Temple

Bangkok, Thailand | C.1911

Photo Credit: Stacie Flinner

In Thai, the Marble Temple translates to Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram, one of six Racha-Vora-Vihan, or first-class royal temples in Bangkok. It is a Buddhist wat (enclosed temple) in the Dusit district of Bangkok that stands as a love letter to Thailand’s many architectural influences and spiritual heritage.

The temple dates back to 1899 when it was designed by Prince Narisara Nuvadtivongs (half-brother of King Rama V). Nuvadtivongs was inspired by European and Chinese architecture, and even used Italian marble to construct the temple. Marble was also used to built the Carrara pillars, courtyard, and two large singhas (lions) guarding the entrance to the bot, an “ordination hall” where new monks take their vows.

Just beyond the bot is a Bodhi tree, brought from Bodhgaya, India where the Buddha reached enlightenment. Inside the temple, the interiors are decorated with crossbeams of lacquer and gold, and in shallow niches in the walls are paintings of important stupas all over the country.

Tourists are invited to take photographs throughout the temple grounds, but are asked to also dress in “respectful” attire including long pants and sleeved shirts for men and women. This is because Wat Benchamabophit is an active Thai Buddhist temple.

For those unable to visit the temple, or others who want to bring home a souvenir, the Marble Temple is featured on Thailand’s 5 baht coin. The Wat Benchamabophit has been accurately etched onto the back of the coin at the same angle as this picture.

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