Over the years I have attended the morning alms round at least a dozen times in order to take pictures of the monks going out from their temple to collect food from local people. One time I even acted as a “temple boy” and carried the monk’s bag. But, it is not often that I have witnessed monks doing their alms round by boat. Certainly not in Bangkok.
Posted in Alms Round
About five years ago the BBC had a story about an image of David Beckham that could be found at a Thai temple in Bangkok. It was never the easiest of temples to reach, but since they opened the BRT bus route it is now very convenient to go to this temple as it is right next to BRT Wat Pariwat. You walk down a lane until you reach the main buildings. I asked a nun if this was the right temple for David Beckham but she had never heard of him. Obviously she doesn’t watch English football. But, she took me to a monk who does!
The monk confirmed to me that Wat Pariwat was indeed the famous David Beckham temple. However, he said in the last few years hardly anyone has come to see the image of the footballer. The building with the blue roof is normally locked but he asked someone to go and open it for me. This is the main Buddha shrine inside the chapel. It is easier to find it open on “wan phra” days which are the Buddhist holy days which coincide with the phases of the moon. If you find it locked then they don’t mind opening it for you.
To the right of the Buddha image in the far corner you will find that one of the images decorating the base to be very familiar. It is indeed the famous English footballer David Beckham! It is also worth visiting around the back of the temple alongside the Chao Phraya river. I was told that this is a popular location in the evenings where people come to eat and also feed the fish. The people there were really kind to me and gave me a free iced fruit drink! Obviously not many foreigners come here. But, maybe this will change soon.
To commemorate the 175th anniversary of Wat Bowon Niwet Wihan and the completion of its major restoration work, the temple recently organized a temple fair. Wat Bowon Niwet Wihan, in Bangkok’s Bang Lamphu area, was open daily for the general public to pay their respects to the important Buddha statue and nine sacred landmarks.
Wat Bowon Niwet is located on Phra Sumen Road in the Bang Lamphu area. Built in 1829, it is the shrine-hall of Phra Phuttha Chinnasee, a very beautiful Buddha image which was molded in about 1357. This is one of the most important temples of Bangkok, whose one-time chief abbot was King Rama IV before he ascended the throne. King Rama IV and King Rama VII, as well as His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej had resided here during their monkhood.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra officiated at the ceremony to start the construction of the royal crematorium for Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana, at the ceremonial ground on the southern side of Sanam Luang in Bangkok. The ceremony took place on 16 January 2012 at 11.30 hr, with Deputy Prime Minister Police General Kowit Wattana reporting the progress of the preparations for the royal crematorium to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
At the ceremony, Prime Minister Yingluck paid respect to deities by lighting candles and joss sticks and presenting offerings to their statues. After a Brahmin finished chanting, Prime Minister Yingluck applied gold leaves on the main pillar of the crematorium and sprinkled consecrated water on the pillar. The Prime Minister also presented offerings to the Buddhist monks attending the ceremony.
Princess Bejaratana passed away at the age of 85 on 27 July 2011 at Sirirat Hospital in Bangkok. The body of the Princess is now lying in state at the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace compound. The royal cremation of Princess Bejaratana is scheduled for 9 April 2012. The royal crematorium will then be open to the public to inspect until 17 April 2012.
Source: Public Relations Department of the Royal Thai Government
Posted in News
Wat Bowon Niwet is an important royal temple in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon District. Before King Rama IV ascended the throne, he was the first abbot. Other kings also resided here for a while. The present king, was ordained here and so it is an important pilgrimage site. For the past five years, the temple has been undergoing renovation and this is now complete. To celebrate this, and the 175th anniversary of the temple, there will be a worship fair from 11th to 15th January 2012.
In this picture, from today’s copy of the Bangkok Post, senior monks and laypeople look at two gold plated spires to be placed on the heads of the Phra Phuttha Chinnasee Buddha image and of a replica at Wat Bowon Niwet. The Sukhothai-era bronze image is in the attitude of subduing Mara. Picture is by Apichart Jinakul.
For more information about this temple, please visit SacredSiam.com
Posted in News
Thai Buddhists like to start the new year by offering alms to monks. They believe that by making merit in this way that they have given themselves some good luck for the new year. The events were organized all around Thailand but these pictures were taken by the Bangkok Tourist Division at Sanam Luang.
People started arriving at Sanam Luang in Bangkok as early as 6 a.m. They stood behind tables where they placed the food and essentials. The ceremony itself started when the Bangkok Governor arrived at 7 a.m. to light the candles and incense sticks. After a religious ceremony, 285 monks then went up and down tables accepting dried food and essentials from the people.
Source: Bangkok Tourism Division