Wat Benjamabophit (Marble Temple)
Bangkok Attractions | Bangkok temples
Dubbed "The Marble temple", the Wat Benjamabophit is located close in Bangkok's Dusit District. Covering an area roughly 12 acres large, it is within walking distance of Dusit Palace. The temple was built from white Italian Carrara marble. It is an architectural gem that combines traditional Thai design with a distinctively European neoclassical influence such as stained glass windows.
The temple's name "Benjamabophit" translates to "the temple of the Fifth King," reflecting the fact that it was built and named by King Rama V of the Chakri Dynastry. Construction was completed in the year 1900. Its design was the brainchild of Prince Narisranuvattivongse, the half-brother of King Rama V, and it is hailed as one of the finest examples of traditional Thai architectural craftsmanship.
The Wat Benjamabophit's interior is splendidly decorated with beautiful, exposed crossbeams in lacquer and gold. The Ubosoth Hall (Bot or Ordination Hall) is the main structure at the temple and is also constructed from Italian Carrara marble. The cloister, is situated in the back of the temple, is home to a collection of 53 bronze Buddha images in many different styles. 33 of the images are originals, and 20 are replicas of sacred Buddha images from all over Asia.
The Wat Benjamabophit is home to a stunning Buddha image that is a replica of the highly revered Phra Buddha Shinaraja image. In fact, the main shrine of the Wat Benjamabophit was specifically constructed to enshrine this highly sacred image, which, at the time, was situated 300km away, in the province of Phitsanulok.
However, after construction was complete, the people of Phitsanulok were not willing to part ways with the revered Buddha image. In its place, a 2.5 ton replica of the Phra Buddha Shinaraja was enshrined in the Wat Benjamabophit. It is crafted in bronze and is spot-lit with a blue light. The ashes of King Rama V are interred under the Buddha's throne.
Other structures on the grounds of the Wat Benjamabophit include the bell tower, the Abbot's residence, and Song Dharm Hall, which is typically used to lay important dignitaries and members of the royal family in state. A visit to the monks' quarters is also worthwhile and one will see that the quarters are extremely colorful and well maintained.
The best time to visit the Wat Benjamabophit is in the early morning hours. The temple is open to visitors from 8 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. A 20 baht admission fee is charged. A visit to the monks quarters at the monastery is well worth your while.