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The World's Largest Solid Gold Buddha
SOCIO-CULTURE Thailand

The World's Largest Solid Gold Buddha

Most people of the region might not even aware that in Bangkok’s Wat Traimit temple, there is the world’s largest Golden Buddha.

The Wat Traimit temple in the Chinatown area of Bangkok is a Royal temple famous for the enormous gold Buddha image it houses.

Source: Tour-asia
Source: Tour-asia

History narrated that there was a story about how the Golden Buddha was discovered. 

This Buddha was accidentally dropped while items on display were being moved around.  When the Buddha fell, the plaster covering cracked revealing a hint of the beautiful solid gold Sukhothai Buddha that was within.  Some of the original plaster has been put on display as living proof that indeed this story has happened in real life. 

No one can blame artisans from disguising the Golden Buddha to protect it from invaders.  The artisans used stucco and plaster but nobody remembered to remove the cover after the invaders were gone.

Source: Memoirs of a Traveller
Source: Memoirs of a Traveller

The Golden Buddha is known in Thai as Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon.  This Buddha is the world’s largest solid gold statue.  The origin of this statue was believed to be from the 13th or 14th century during the Sukhothai period. 

This theory was brought on by the observations made regarding the egg shaped head which means it has Indian influences.  A typical characteristic of art made during the Sukhothai period.  Experts say that metal figures of the Buddha made in India were taken to other countries for installation.

In 2010, a new building was inaugurated at the Wat Traimit to house this Golden Buddha.  The new building is huge enough to include the Bangkok Chinatown Heritage Centre and the exhibition of the Golden Buddha. 

Street food in Chinatown in Bangkok | Pinterest
Street food in Chinatown in Bangkok | Pinterest

The Buddha itself seats in the traditional pose of Bhumisparsha Mudra. 

Bhumisparsha means touching the earth or earth witness mudra.  The position symbolizes the Buddha’s enlightenment as he sits under the Bodhi tree.  It was during this time that he was summoning the earth goddess Sthavara to witness this period of his enlightenment.

Historically speaking, The 1991 Guinness Book of Records has enlisted the Golden Buddha as the “sacred object with the highest intrinsic value of £21.1 million”.  This was based on the price of gold in April 1990 at £227 per fine ounce. 

Source: Hostelworld
Source: Hostelworld

Today, this statue is valued at $1,400 per troy ounce which means the statue is estimated to be valued at $250 million dollars.

Visiting the Golden Buddha is no longer free because visitors are asked to pay 40 Bath to gain entrance to the second level directly leading to the golden statue.

This is a small price to pay for being granted the privilege of visiting one of Bangkok’s most beautiful temples and the world famous Golden Buddha. 

Source : Various sources including  Bonvoyage Travel and templesinbangkok.com

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