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More Powerful by the Minute: Buddhism’s most Sacred Image is over 2050 Years Strong

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It is perhaps one of Thailand’s and Buddhism’s most important and revered relic. It is small, measuring only 45 centimeters tall. The King himself changes clothes for it. It is actually made of jade rather than emerald. That’s right, this is the Emerald Buddha. And you can see it in its current home in the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok.

The statue is rich in legend and history. Sources have it being born in India in 43 BC by a Buddhist sage named Nagasena. It then began its much travelled history to Sri Lanka, meant to protect it from a civil war back in its birth country. Since then, either through unfortunate circumstances or through conflicts between the Southeast Asian countries, the Emerald Buddha, through Myanmar, has ended up in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and then back to and its final resting place in Bangkok.

It is believed that the older a Buddha image gets, the more powerful it becomes. Well, the Emerald Buddha is more than 2050 years old. The power the statue holds is also believed to give legitimacy to the King of the nation that possesses it and protection to the his ruling country. So, just that fact alone makes this image very important.

As mentioned before Emerald Buddha also goes through three changes of clothes a year, a tradition started by King Rama I. There is a summer season costume which is donned in March, a winter season costume which the King changes for in November and a rainy season costume that the Emerald Buddha wears in July. There are also two unused gold clothes which can be seen at Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations and Thai Coins at the grounds of the Grand Palace.

One should not miss the Emerald Buddha while touring the Grand Palace. It sits in an elaborate throne room, complete with golden stupas and spires. Many (both visitors and locals) line up in front of the temple door to catch a glimpse of the image. You must take your shoes off before entering and picture taking inside the room is not allowed. Also show respect by sitting with your feet pointing away from the Buddha.

If you would like to explore Thailand’s capital even more, then try out our Bangkok City Safari day trip tour. We’ll take you around Bangkok using public transportation (a great way to see the city and absorb its flavor) as you visit the city’s attractions.

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