Wat Ratchanatdaram


This temple was built for Rama III (King Phranangklao; r 1824–51) in the 1840s, and its design is said to derive from metal temples built in India and Sri Lanka more than 2000 years ago. Unsurprisingly, the temple is colloquially referred to by the moniker loha prasat, which translates as 'iron palace' in Sanskrit. At the back of the compound, behind the formal gardens, is a well-known market selling prá krêu·ang (Buddhist amulets) in all sizes, shapes and styles.

The temple is most stunning at night when the 37 spires – representing the 37 virtues that lead to enlightenment – are lit up like a medieval birthday cake. The interior is relatively unadorned by Thai temple standards, but the hallways and square edges contribute to a symmetry reminiscent of the much earlier temples at Angkor, in Cambodia.

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