Photo: Marbleicious .

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Wat Benchamabophit

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It could be argued that no king left a greater mark on Bangkok than Rama V, and no temple is as closely linked to him as Wat Benchamabophit. This distinctive example of late Rattanakosin period architecture is best known for a four-sided ordination hall built out of imported Italian marble in 1899.

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While a monastery has existed here since the Ayutthaya period, the site only took on a royal presence in the 1820s when five of Rama III’s princes established a military position here to defend against a Lao army that never made it to Bangkok. The king renamed the temple Wat Benchabophit, or “Five Princes Monastery.” In 1873, Rama V (Chulalongkorn) ordained here for 15 days, after which the temple was renamed Wat Benchamabophit Dusitwanaram, “Monastery of the Fifth King near Dusit Palace”, or “Wat Bench” for short.

Also known as the Marble Temple. Photo taken in or around Wat Benchamabophit, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Also known as the Marble Temple. Photo: David Luekens

During the construction of Rama V’s elaborate Dusit palaces, which are a short walk from Wat Bench, the king’s half-brother Prince Naris designed a new ordination hall using white Carrara marble. Fronted by exquisite marble phra sing lion guardians and supported by immense marble pillars, the hall remains one of the most eye-catching features found in any Bangkok temple.

The interior looks something like an Italian cathedral converted into a kingly Thai temple. Gothic-shaped stained-glass windows complement murals depicting several important Thai stupas. Symmetrical lai Thai designs adorn gold-and-white walls rising from slabs of marble in crimson, grey and ochre. Golden rafters sparkle high above patterned marble floors, punctuated by lavishly painted Benjarong vases and grandfather clocks studded with ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Wat Benchamabophit is an easy walk from Vimanmek Mansion and other points among the Dusit palaces, park and zoo. If walking along Sri Ayutthaya Road, it's two kilometres east of Thewet express boat pier, and three kilometres west of Phaya Thai BTS skytrain station. Any tuk tuk or taxi driver will know it.

Wat Benchamabophit
Cnr of Sri Ayutthaya and Nakhon Pathom Rds (southeast of Ananta Samakhon Throne Hall), Bangkok
Daily 08:00-17:30
Admission: 20 baht

Location map for Wat Benchamabophit

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