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I'm an Aussie who likes wandering all over the world but keeps coming back home to paradise and my family. If you are reading this on one of my travel blogs, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you are reading the Diabetes and weight loss blog - I hope it helps in your battle with the beast. Cheers, Alan

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bangkok Grand Palace

Travel Date 11th March 2008.
Click on any picture to see a large version.

And, of course, I had to visit the Grand Palace.

This guy was keeping it safe. So were a lot of others, there were soldiers everywhere.

King Rama I established the Grand Palace in 1782 on his ascension to the throne. He initially built a throne hall and then it just grew, like topsy, over the years. It was used as the Royal Residence with associated government offices until well into the 20th Century.

The most important building is the Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha, which is still the most venerated site in Thailand. I was allowed in, after removing footwear, but no photos are allowed inside.

The Emerald Buddha is not actually Emerald But Jade. Still pretty impressive. It was carved some time prior to 1434, when it was first discovered in Chiang Rai, and has wandered then via Lampang and Laos until a conquering army brought it home in 1778.

The Grand Palace is a visual feast, almost overwhelming in the riot of colours, shapes, statues, temples, halls and weirdly grotesque amalgams of deities, animals and people.

To be honest, while I loved the place and enjoyed the incredible displays, in artistic terms it was way over the top to me. Extreme colour and extreme forms for their own sake. The workmanship was exquisite, the artistry in some individual aspects sublime - but it was just overwhelming.

But what do I know - remember that I am a philistine; in art terms I am probably tone-deaf - enjoy the photos.

Cheers, Alan

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