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LEXICON

 

 

Wat Rakhang (วัดระฆัง)

Thai. ‘Temple of the Bell’. Name of a Buddhist temple, located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi. It is a royal temple and its full name and title are Wat Rakhang Kohsitaraam Woramahawihaan (วัดระฆังโฆสิตารามวรมหาวิหาร). It dates from the Ayutthaya Period and was formerly known as Wat Bang Wa Yai (วัดบางว้าใหญ่ or วัดบางหว้าใหญ่). During the Thonburi Period, the temple was renovated and upgraded to a royal temple by King Taksin (fig.), who had his palace (fig.) built in the area, and the temple then reportedly became the residence of the then Supreme Patriarch, though some sources say that this position was created only in 1782, at the founding of the Chakri Dynasty, and the temple later was indeed a residence of Somdet Phra Phutthajaan Toh (สมเด็จพระพุฒาจารย์โต - fig.), i.e. Toh Phromrangsi (โต พฺรหฺมรํสี), who was the Supreme Patriarch in the reign of King Rama IV.  In the beginning of the Rattanakosin Era (fig.), during the reign of King Rama I, a bell was discovered at the temple, which as consequently moved to Wat Phra Kaew (fig.), where it was placed in the belfry (fig.) of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (fig.). To compensate Wat Bang Wa Yai, five other bells were cast and the latter temple was renamed Wat Rakhang. It is also referred to by the name Wat Luang Poo Toh (fig.).