The word "Wat" in Thai means a Buddhist temple and amongst the more than 3,000 Wats in Thailand, "the Temple of the Dawn" is one of the most important."Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan" to give the temple it's full name, abbreviated to Wat Arun for short. Wat Arun was dedicated to the Indian God of Dawn, Aruna, the temple is aptly called "the Temple of the Dawn" because of the irridescent reflection of the sun on it's surface in the early morning. However, the Wat is best viewed in early evening as the sun sets.
|The Temple of the Dawn|
The Wat consists of a central "prang" with four smaller "prangs" at the four corners of the central "prang". A "prang" is a spire that towers the Wat. Religious-wise, spires were a favorite architectural detail as it express man’s quest to reach out to their gods and heavens.
The main "prang" is approximately 100 meters tall and heavily decorated by bits of porcelain which came from the porcelain ballasts used by Chinese traders. The "prang’s" uniquely blended Thai and Khmer architecture is a sight to behold.
The temple’s main prang is said to be a representation of Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist philosophy. The four lesser prangs represent the four elements: "air, water, wind and fire". One of the smaller prangs has the sculpture of the god of wind, Pai.The main center prang has in its top a seven-thronged trident, the trident of Shiva, the supreme god in Hinduism.