Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good morning old Bangkok 2:
The Rattanakosin Town Trail

"Rattanakosin Town Trail" is a wonderful book, that has been published by Yongtanit Pimonsathean in 2000. It proposes five walks along the historic streets, and the author hoped, "that this will eventually bring more public-private co-operative effort to help save the environment of Rattanakosin". It's time, to promote these five walks again. Let's see, what happened in the last nine years. Therefore I'm gooing to publish these five walks on Google Map. And i collect, what other people have found on these walks. Then the readers of this blog can do the walk themselves. And maybe they will send to this blog, what they found: comments, pictures or even sounds and videos. My address for that: hasmartin@bluewin.ch.

Route 3: Upper middle of Rattanakosin
Click for Google Map. You find restaurants and food stalls on the map too!

Click for the full description of Trail Route 3
Now let's see, what can be found by walking this trail.

We start with Maha Chesdabodin (1 on the map):

Picture by Madame Travels


Here you find the King Rama III monument:

Picture by Madame Travels


The pavilion and the plaza are used for Royal ceremonies and official events.You can overlook the plaza on this foto by www.hagen-von-der-floetenweide.de

Now we follow Ratchadamnoen Klang Boulevard (ถนนราชดำเนิน, 2), that looks as punasi banned it on his picture and has been built during the Fifth reign (1868-1910). Have a look on the slide show by OGGtours.

You come to Democracy Monument (อนุสาวรีย์ประชาธิปไตย, 3) from 1939. It reminds the change of Thailand administration from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy:

Picture by Keng Susumpow


Democracy Monument was created by Corrado Feroci. The Italian sulptor came from Florence to Thailand, invited by King Rama VI to train Thai artists and craftsmen. He built 18 famous momuments in Thailand, got the Thai citizenship in 1946 and changed his name to Silpa Bhirasi. See the slideshow by OGGtours.

Let's turn into Tanao Road (ถนน ตะนาว). Look at the shophouses near Chao Poh Suea Shrine. They have more or less the same features as those in Banglamphu.

Picture by คนช่างเล่า

This blog has more fotos of shophouses around there.

Our next stop (5) is at Wat Mahanaparam (วัดมหรรณพาราม, from 1850), where we find Thai and Chinese architectural influences.






















Picture by Smartman. Outside the temple you find a Bodhi Tree, that was brought from Sri Lanka by King Rama V (1853-1910), pictury by hdamm.de. Other pictures of Wat Mahanaparam by dazoelry and daggeo. See the slideshow by OGGtours.


Now we arrive at a very holy location for Chinese people (6): Chao Poh Suea Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อเสือ‎, 4681/1 Tanao). This means: Gold Tiger. The shrine first was located on Bang Rung Muang road, but moved to Tanao Road during the Fifth reign (1868-1910).


















Picture by Hero member

























Picture by gerrypopplestone
See more pictures by dekdee.























This and the following pictures by OGGtours





















































































Looking out to Mahannop Road. You want to see more? Then enjoy this collection of pictures by OGGtours on youtube.com


Just around the corner you discover a gate (7):
























Picture by OGGtours

It's the neoclassical gate of Praeng Sappasart แพร่งสรรพศาสตร์, the palace of Prince Sappasart Suphakit, son of King Rama IV, built in 1901. The gate is what remained after a fire, that distroyed everything else in 1967. See the slideshow by OGGtours.


From Tanao we turn right to Phraeng Nara Road (แพร่งนรา, 8). This area belonged to Prince Narathip Prapanpong. He built the road with shophouses during the Fifth reign (1868-1910). Today the two-storey shophouses belong to the Royal Crown Property Bureau. Next we see the Talapat Suksa School:






































































The carved banister reflects the beauty of the past.























Talapat Suksa school is a part of the palace of Prince Narathip Prapanpong. Here you can see more pictures and listen to a comment of OGGtours on youtube.com


The next steps lead us to the old shophouses (10) on Praeng Poothon road (แพร่งภูธร), where you find more than hundred old houses from the time from 1868 to 1910. This area used to be a "shopping centre", before the modern centres and departments were built. Here you discover a gallery with art exhibitions: People Space. "We are a small space in the heart of the old Bangkok whose aim is to bring all kind of people some artistic enjoyment", they say in their blog.

























Picture by OGGtours. See more pictures, listen to a guide and sound in youtube.com























Are you hungry now? This is Chote Chitr (โชติจิตร)! "An insane variety of eats", photographer Austin Bush commented on this area. The ninety years old Chote Chitr with just five tables offers "some of the best Thai food you've ever eaten", as the National Public Radio (USA) writes.

























This picture has been taken by Lolo eatable. There you read, that Chote Chitr is famous for Mee-Krob, sweet-and-spicy crispy fried noodles. Wow!

After our dinner we move to Klong Koo Muang Derm (คลองคูเมืองเดิม, 11), the inner city moat (some guides call it Klong Lot, what is wrong). The moat was dug in the time of King Taksin the great (1767 to 1782). See a picture.

Let's move further to one of the oldest roads in Bangkok: Bam Rung Muang (บำรุงเมือง, 12), known as "Buddha Street". The shophouses date from 1872. First you found here a colonnaded walkway, but then this room has been filled up. So there is no walkway left. Later there was a shopping centre. When these activities moved to modern shopping malls, the shops here turned into producing and selling Buddhist paraphernalia, from statues of all sizes to amulets, ceremonial fans, candles. incense sticks and bowls, that monks carry on their morning rounds. It now has the greatest concentration of this kind of shops in Thailand. Here you see a slide show. And here you enjoy the presentation by OGGtours on youtube.com. Or read an interesting article by Peerawat Jariyasombat in Bangkok Post. More pictures by soundtrek.org

Let's go to the centre of Brahmanism in Thailand now:































The monastery Devasathan Bot Phram (เทวสถาน โบสถ์พราหมณ์, 13), built by King Rama 1 in 1784, the oldest buildings in the centre of the old city. Images of the Hindu gods Vishnu, Ganesh and Narayana are housed in three shrines (open on Thursdays and Sundays from 9 am to 4 pm). On the left is Phra Isuan (สถาน พระอิศวร), the shrine of Shiva with bronze imahes of Shiva, In the middle you find Phra Phiknesuan (สถาน พระพิฆเนศวร), the shrine of Ganesha with five seated images of Ganesha (made of granite and sandstone). On the right is Phra Narai (สถาน พระนารายณ์), the shrine of Vishnu with images of Vishnu in bronze. Brahmanism-Hinduism has had a lot of influence on the Thai culture. Now see the presentation by OGGtours on youtube.com

What's next? Of course the red-painted wooden pillars of Sao Ching Cha (เสาชิงช้า, 14), the Giant Swing.































Picture by Sithr

It has been standing in front of Wat Suthat for more than 200 years. It was created in 1784 to be used in the Brahmin Swing ceremony. Young Brahmans swinged to the height of 25m from the ground in an attempt to grab bags of coins, that were placed on top of a bamboo pillar. Some of the young men fell to death. So the ceremony was revoked in 1935. See the slide show by OGGtours and pictures by PaRaKaDa

Now we enter Wat Suthat (วัดสุทัศ, 15). It was built in the First reign (1782-1809) on the central area of the city at that time. The Viharn (main hall) contains the bronze Buddha image Phra Sri Sakayamuni or "Sisakayamunee", that was brought by King Rama I from Sukhothai. The ashes of King Rama VIII are contained in its base. Splendid wall paintings are perhaps the most important of their kind in Thailand. They depict the Jataka Tales - 24 previous lives of the Buddha - and the columns are painted with scenes of the early history of Bangkok. In the Ubosot (Ordinary Hall) you discover Phra Buddha Trilokachet, in Sala Kan Parien (Meeting Hall) you see Phra Buddha Setthamuni. At the lower terrace of the base there are 28 Chinese pagodas, that mean the 28 Buddhas born on this earth. The cloisters surrounding the Viharn contain more than 150 Buddha images. The statues are "adopted" by people, who want to make merit for a departed loved one. Read more details in an article of sacred-destinations.com and see the slideshow of OGGtours and listen to their comment. Wat Suthat is one of few Bangkok temples, that has chanting sessions of the monks in the evening in the viharn, where the public can attend (7 to 8 pm from Monday to Friday). Read an article by The Nation.






















The Viharn, picture by rogerwp








































































All the three pictures by adaptorplug.























Makha Bucha Festival, picture by Taiger808


Our next steps on Bamrung Muang road lead to Sommot Amornmark Bridge (17). We cross the outer city moat. The bridge was built during the Fifth reign (1868-1910). Before there was a bridge on steel rails - you could move the bridge away to prevent the enemy from entering the town. See pictures by hdamm.de and by atja.

We turn back on the bridge and turn into Maha Chai Road (แขวงบวรนิเวศ). And we arriva at Wat Theptidaram (วัดเทพธิดาราม, 18):































The Ubosot, picture by Hdamm

Wat Theptidaram was originally called Wat Ban Phrayakrai Suanluang. Inside the Ubosot you find the statue of Luang Phor Khao (หลวงพ่อขาว), made from white marble:































Statue of Luang Phor Khao, picture by Hdamm


King Rama III built the temple between 1836 and 1839 for his daughter Krommamuen Apsorn Sudathep (กรมหมื่นอัปสรสุดาเทพ) in a Thai-Chinese style called Silpa Phra Ratscha Niyom (ศิลปะพระราชนิยม), what means: the art, the King prefers. In front of the Viharn you find 14 Chedis, inside 43 statues of Bhikkhunis, made from Nak, a mix of tin and copper. The gables of the buildings are embedded with Chinese porcelain pieces; in the temple grounds you find Chinese statues. At the end of the temple compound you can visit the quarters (Ban Kawi) of Sunthon Phu (สุนทรภู่), famous Thai poet, who lived here for three years after he fell out of favor with King Rama III. Sunthorn Phu has been called Thailands Shaespeare. He wrote Phra Aphai Mani, a work that was called "one of the greatest imaginative works ever written." Sunthon's fortune depended on his relationship with the reigning king. Rama II adored him, Rama III disliked him (Sunthorn Phu had publicily critisized his work as writer), and Rama IV made him a Poet Laureate. Read more about Sunthon Phu and a translation of Phra Aphai Mani by Prince Prem Burachat.






















Entrance to the Sunthon Phu Museum. Picture by Heinrich Damm


Again some steps and we enter into Wat Ratchanadda (วัดราชนัดดาราม, 19). 1846 this temple was built be King Rama III for his niece. The temple is known for Loha Prasat (โลหะปราสาท), a structure with five concentric square towers. The central tower is 36 m high and has a spiral stairway up inside, that leads to a walkway on the roof of the fourth tower, from where a stair leads up to the shrine at the top of the temple and fine views across the town. Loha Prasat has 37 metal spires, signifying the 37 virtues toward enlightenment, and is a copy of a temple in Sri Lanka. There is also a popular amulet market at Wat Ratchanadda. Read more about Loha Prasat.

























Wat Ratchanadda with Loha Prasat, picture by Ethan's Vivifying Adventures, another picture by krensucht.


Our next station is Mahakan Fort and a part of the old city wall.























Picture by Zhaffsky. Pictures from inside you see on 2bangkok.com




Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok


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