Locally referred to as Wat Chaeng or the Temple of the Dawn, Wat Arun is a sacred site seated by the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. It is revered as one of the most stunning sacred structures of the world.
Wat Arun was constructed during the Ayutthaya era, and was in 1768 envisioned by General Taksin. During this time, the site holding Wat Arun had a smaller temple known as Wat Makok, a time at which the Ayutthaya Kingdom was in ruins. It is said that the general swore to rebuild the temple after winning the war against the invading Burmese army. This was after heviewed the temple from Chao Phraya River. As soon as he had defeated the warlords, he founded the Thonburi Kingdom, which lasted between 1768 and 1782. He then rebuilt the Wat Marok temple, and named it Wat Jaeng, meaning the Temple of Dawn. Taksin gave the monks ill treatment and drove them out to worship alone in the temple.
Later, the general was overthrown, and the temple abandoned. However, it was not to remain empty for too long. Rama I successor, Rama II who took over between 1809 and 1824 restored it. He reconstructed the temples aesthetics, had the central spire raised higher and went ahead to rename the temple Wat Arun. Renaming the temple as the general had was aimed at keeping the theme of dawn, but this time, Rama II connected it with India, which is considered the centre of Buddhism.
His plan was to raise the central spire beyond 16 meters. Unfortunately, he died before this mission was accomplished. The construction was later completed by Rama III in 1847, who raised the spire to 67 meters, making the structure to be the tallest in Thailand to date. The completed structure is what is today towering the Bangkok skyline. Wat Arun is Mount Meru’s architectural reproduction, housing images of the guardian gods of the four directions.
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