Bangkok temple gets UNESCO designation

20 Jun 2011

A Buddhist temple in central Bangkok has been given Memory of the World recognition by the United Nations’ cultural arm. At Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Temple there are more than 1,000 stone tablets which depict advice on subjects such as Buddhist lore, yoga and massage.   

The tablets and religious plaques (canons) at the temple, known to locals as Wat Pho, are around 200 years old and were first put forward for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recognition by Thai authorities four years ago. UNESCO officially listed the designation at a ceremony at the end of May in the UK city of Manchester.

Last week a UNESCO official for the AsiaPacific Region, Maenmas Chawalit, confirmed the temple’s new prestigious status. Assistant abbot Rajavethee announced at a media conference that Wat Pho will celebrate the auspicious occasion by holding a temple party and merit making rites in November of this year.  

Wat Pho is sited in Bangkok’s Rattanakosin beside the more famous Grand Palace. It is one of the city’s most ancient and is home to a diverse collection of Lord Buddha effigies including a renowned Reclining Buddha Statue (Phra Buddhasaiyas).

Wat Pho was also the first place that traditional Thai massage was practiced. Nowadays a school offering courses in this is contained within the temple compound and is near the Reclining Buddha Statue.

Tags: Bangkok temple UNESCO

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