Wat Arun Ratchawararam
Temple of Dawn, Bangkok
Wat Arun Ratchawararam, formerly known as Wat Makok and later called “Wat Makok Nok”, is an ancient temple that was built in the Ayutthaya period. In 1767 when King Taksin the Great established the city Thon Buri, he arrived at the front of this temple at dawn. He asked that his royal barge docked at the pier of the temple and then went up to worship the Buddha relic kept in the original Prang (Khmer-style tower). The restoration of the current Prang began in the reign of King Rama II. Wat Makok Nok was then restored and its name was changed to “Wat Chaeng*.
King Rama IV during his reign, ordered the royal ashes of King Rama II to be moved under the base of the presiding Buddha image in the Ubosot and renamed the temple “Wat Arun Ratchawararam”. This temple is the royal temple of King Rama II.
There is a belief that worshiping the Prang at Wat Arun Ratchawararam will bring eternal happiness and prosperity just like the name of this temple, the dawn of a new day. Worshiping the Prang can be done by walking around the Prang three times in a clockwise direction (Dakkhinavatta ) holding three joss slicks and a pair of candles. Worshipers should contemplate the Buddhist doctrine of the Four Noble Truths of the enlightened Buddha consisting Dukkha (suffering), Samudaya (end of suffering), Nirodha (arising of suffering) and Magga (way leading to the end of suffering). Only by learning and practicing this Dhamma can a person achieve the true success.
The Prang of Wat Arun is a world famous symbol of Bangkok. The tower has been claimed as the “best Buddhist architecture of Rattanakosin”. Surrounded by four smaller satellite Prangs, the central Prang symbolizes Mount Meru of the Indian cosmology. The central Prang is considered the world’s biggest Prang with the height of approximately 86 metres. The presiding Buddha image called “Phra Phuttha Thammitsararat Lokkathat Dilok” is said to have been molded by King Rama II himself.
How to get there
Wat Arun Ratchawararam is located next to the Royal Thai Navy on Arun Amarin Road, Bangkok Yai District, Bangkok (on the Chao Phraya River, opposite to Wat Pho on the Thon Buri side). If you have already ventured to Wat Phra Kaeo or Wat Pho, it’s a short walk to the Chao Phraya River. From there you can easily find a boat to take you across the river to Wat Arun for about five baht. Getting back is the same in reverse.