This was my seventh trip to Bangkok but first to Wat Benchamabophit the Marble Temple at Bangkok. I noticed the Italian marble walls only when the guide pointed it out. My attention was captured by the ornate roof of the temple! It is also known as the temple of the walking Buddha. People usually do Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) Golden Buddha (sitting Buddha) and the walking Buddha as a circuit.
While in the car, our guide told us his name is Ex. I started teasing him gently “which type of ex”, to which he replied ex as in excellence! Most of the Thai guides I have met, go by a nick name. Thai names can be a bit difficult to pronounce by foreigners. But the best was my guide in Krabi who took us to the Emerald Pool, hot water spring etc. When I asked him what is his name, he said innocently, “I have no name!” But then I digress.
The construction of the Marble Temple started in 1899 by the great King Rama V. The Marble Temple in Thailand is smaller compared to Wat Pho. The entrance fee is 20 baht. To go inside the prayer hall, one needs to remove the footwear. But for walking around the temple there is no such restriction. Thai Temples have a dress code. The knee and shoulders should be covered. A capri and t-shirt with sleeves would be fine. I was wearing trousers and a t-shirt with sleeves. I entered all the three temples without any trouble.
The main prayer hall of the Marble Temple has a stately statue of the Golden Buddha. But along the perimeter of the inner hall there are 52 statues of Buddha from various places and era. Three of them are walking Buddhas. There is one statue which has its origin in India!
After clicking pictures to my hearts content, I paused for a while in the inner courtyard of the temple. An elderly gentleman gestured to me to click his picture from his phone! I am always happy to click pictures. I clicked a few for him. In the meanwhile a tourist (good looking too) gave me his point and shoot and repeated the request. I told him 10 baht laughingly. Then I clicked two-three pictures for him and gave his camera back.
The elderly gentleman then asked me, “India? Nepal.” I said I was from India and asked if he was from Nepal? To which he replied, “No no Thailand.” Then he took out a Buddha locket, gave to me and walked off! That to me personifies the beauty of Thailand. I felt truly blessed at that moment. That was the moment that explains why I so love to travel! The Marble Temple will always remain a special place for me because of the blessings from the elderly Thai gentleman.
PS. I visited Thailand this time with Byond Travel.