Thursday, March 31, 2011

Travel Photo of the Day: Temple Prayers and Offerings, Bangkok, Thailand

In Feb. 2004, I visited Thailand for the first time and was blown away by the beauty, the history, the scents (a mix of jasmine, incense and spice), the delicious food, the kind and friendly people, the incredible sights and the underlying sense of serenity, even in a frenetic city like Bangkok. The temples are a perfect example of this interesting mix. Filled with curious tourists, bustling tour guides and frantically snapping cameras, the temples are also a haven for the devoted Buddhists of the city, who seem not to be disturbed in their prayers by the buzz of activity that surrounds them.

Wat Pho (pronounced what-po; "wat" is Thai for "temple"), is the largest temple in Bangkok and the most visited as it houses the largest reclining Buddha in the world (46 meters or 150 feet in length and covered completely in gold leaf) as well as a popular Thai massage school, where students practice their skills on tired, grateful travelers at a reduced rate; massage classes are also offered to foreigners. The temple is vast and filled with breathtaking religious art and sculptures and can be overwhelming, but English-speaking guides are available and well worth the small fee. There are also palm readers, astrologers and Buddhist monks, who for a small donation, will provide a blessing for safe travel and a happy life.    

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