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Wat Prayun Wongsahwaht (วัดประยุรวงศาวาส)

Thai. ‘Temple’. Name of a Buddhist temple in Bangkok's Thonburi District, adjacent to the Memorial Bridge (fig.). The temple's wihaan (fig.) houses the 5.7 meter high Naak Saksit Buddha image, which dates from the Sukhothai Period and is seated in the maravichaya pose. In the centre of the hall is a busabok, i.e. a regalia of rank, and in front of Naak Saksit is a smaller image of a crowned Buddha, flanked by Sariputta and Mogallana, as well as by a silver and a golden phum dokmai and some minature chat. The principal Buddha image in the ubosot (fig.), which is located to the right of the wihaan, is also seated in the bhumisparsa pose and was cast in 1828 AD, i.e. the same year as the ubosot was built. It is covered with gold that was imported from Japan, and considered to be a work of high quality. Unlike the dull walls of the wihaan, the interior walls and pillars of the ubosot feature colourful murals. Unlike most other pagodas, which are usually solid structures, or –if hollow– closed off to the public, the 60.525 meter high chedi of Wat Prayun Wongsahwaht can actually be entered and visited on the inside, and while the entrance is a narrow yet high cavity, the exit consist of a low and narrow tunnel, forcing one to crawl out on hands and knees, a memorable lesson in humility after having visited the holy of holies. The interior consists of bricks and initially had only a central pillar made of brick and a few wooden support beams. In 1871 AD, the pagoda was struck by lightning and damaged. It remained unrepaired for nearly 47 years, until 1918, when it was restored and reinforced with steel (fig.). Today, the niches below display Buddha images in different poses, including those of the Phra prajam wan system (fig.). The principal chedi also houses a bone relic of the Buddha, referred to in Thai as Phra Boromma Sahrihrikathat, and is surrounded by a circular wall, that was added later and which is topped by 18 smaller pagodas. On the inside of the circular wall are open doorways, that give access to a gallery, which on one side is used as a columbarium wall, with three continuous rows of niches to accommodate cremated remains, each niche closed off with a small memorial plaque (fig.). In addition, this temple is known for its Prayun Phantakhaan Buddha Images Museum (fig.) and for its khao mo (fig.), i.e. an artificial miniature hill built in the middle of a pond filled with turtles and fish, surrounded by a rock garden and a number of miniature chedis and stupas, cathedrals, pavilions, and rare plants, and also referred to as khao tao, i.e. ‘turtle hill’. The temple's full name and royal title is Wat Prayun Wongsahwaht Worawihaan (วัดประยุรวงศาวาสวรวิหาร). See also QUADCOPTER PICTURE.