Loha Prasat, Bangkok, Thailand
(29 August, 2006)
(GPS: 13.75489, 100.50421; Thai: โลหะปราสาท
) is a multi-tiered square-shaped pagoda at Wat Ratchanatdaram
. The name Loha Prasat is translated as "Iron Monastery" or "Metal Palace". It refers to the 37 metal spires on the pagoda. These 37 spires represent the 37 virtues that lead to enlightenment.
Construction of Loha Prasat began during the reign of King Rama III (King Nangklao or in full, Prabath Somdej Pra Paramadhiwarasetha Maha Jessadabodindra Siammintarawirodom Borommadhammikkarajadhirat Boromanathbopitra Phra Nangklao Chaoyuhua), when Wat Ratchanaddaram was constructed. However, Loha Prasat remained incomplete for 150 years through on-and-off construction. It was only recently completed during the present reign of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. From the outside, Loha Prasat appears to be three storeys high, but it is actually a seven storey structure.
Each tier of Loha Prasat has passageways leading from it going north-south and east-west. They number fifteen in each direction, on the ground level. At the intersection of the passageways are small meditation cells. This is modelled after Sri Lankan monasteries that can have as many as a thousand cells, but at Loha Prasat, the number is only about half of that.
Loha Prasat it is presently the only metal-based Buddhist construction left in the world, making it a viable candidate for World Heritage Site listing. It derived its name from the first structure of this kind built in India by a female devotee of Visakha, which was a two-storey building, featuring 1,000 cells for monks, with each cell able to take two or three monks. That original structure has a golden spire.
King Dutthagamini of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka
also built one in 161 BC. It was a nine-storey pagoda with a roof of copper plates. This structure has since been destroyed by fire, and only its 1600 stone pillars remain. The architects who designed the Loha Prasat of Bangkok had visited the ruins in Sri Lanka and derived the design to blend with Thai architecture.
In 2005, Loha Prasat was placed along with Wat Ratchanatdaram as a possible future candidate for inscription as a World Heritage Site.
Loha Prasat is located within the compound of Wat Ratchanatdaram, which is located on Ratchadamnoen Klang Road. There are no Skytrain stations nearby, so the easiest way to reach it is by taxi.
A glimpse of Loha Prasat from Wat Ratchanadaram
(29 August, 2006)
Loha Prasat on Google Street View
The temple built by King Rama III for his niece, with the Loha Prasat at its centre.Details
Loha Prasat is on the map of Bangkok
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