Phra Maha Mondop – The shrine of the golden Buddha image

What a lovely find this was and a great morning out exploring bits of Bangkok that we hadn’t seen before.

Buried deep in Chinatown is this amazing Wat. So much more than just another temple this has a modern museum, exhibition space and multimedia presentations telling the story of both the development of Chinatown

as well as the discovery of the golden statue. It all cost £3.17 but I had to laugh at the transliteration of baht on our ticket

The original statue was made in the old Sukhothai Capital in the 1400s. For some reason (probably protection from invading hordes) the pure gold statue was encased in lacquer and plaster where it has remained hidden for centuries.

The 12×15 foot statue was moved around from temple to temple over the years. In 1955 the monks were trying to hoist it up to a different level. It had only gone a few inches when the rope snapped & the statue fell back to the ground chipping a piece of plaster off revealing something shiny beneath.

Following careful restoration this ‘utterly brightly shiny’ (direct quote) statue is now in pride of place at the top of this shrine.

It certainly looks more spectacular than the numerous gold leaf ones we have seen to date. In fact in 1999 The Guinness Book of Records has it as the most valuable religious artefact at an estimated £28.5 millions!!! Given that security was pretty lax, but then again it would be too heavy to lift so it wouldn’t get stolen.

Walking back through Chinatown was interesting. I think we were in the scrap metal district!

And I even found the ultimate widget shop. I’m pretty sure that if they didn’t have the bit you needed then it probably doesn’t exist!

I would definitely recommend this as a place to visit for anyone coming to Bangkok.

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