Thailand has many glistening temples and esteemed Buddha images. But did you know it is also the home to the worlds biggest Buddha made from solid gold? And, the statue has a fascinating history!
The Wat Traimit temple in the Chinatown area of Bangkok is a Royal temple famous for the magnificent gold Buddha image it houses. The temple enshrines the massive solid gold Buddha image in the subduing Mara mudra.
The golden Buddha perhaps looks like many other statues of the Lord Buddha, but it becomes even more interesting when you learn about the statue’s incredible history.
Many centuries ago, a Thai monastery held an immense and gorgeous golden statue of Buddha. However, after news of an invasion by the Burmese army, the monks pursued to protect the statue from thievery and destruction. The Golden Buddha was covered with 8-12 inches of plastered clay, making it look like a seemingly worthless sculpture. The monks’ efforts worked, but they were killed in the raid, leaving the secret of the statue hidden behind.
In 1957, an entire Monastery in Thailand along with the clay Buddha was being relocated by a group of monks, to make way for a highway through the city. When the crane started to lift the giant statue, it began to crack due to its tremendous weight. It also began to rain. The head monk, to protect the idol, decided to lower it at the same place and covered it with a piece of cloth to protect it from rain.
Later in the evening the head monk went to check the idol. He lit his torch under the cloth to see if the idol was alright. As the light touched the Buddha he noticed a little glint shinning back. He went in to take a closer look at the strange glow of light. He wondered if there was something underneath the clay covering the Buddha. He got his chisel and hammer and started to chip away the clay. As he removed the superficial layers of clay the strange glow of light grew bigger and brighter. After many hours of toiling with the hammer and chisel he came face to face with the extraordinary solid gold Buddha.
FUN FACT: "Wat" means Buddhist Temple or Monastery.