Wat Traimit – Home of the Golden Buddha
Compared to other Thai temples, Wat Traimit is almost unassuming. What sets it apart is the 5.5 tonne, 3 metre tall, solid gold statue of the Buddha housed within.
Although it’s exact origins remain uncertain, the Golden Buddha, or Phra Sukhothai Traimit in Thai, was likely made during the Sukhothai dynasty approximately 600-800 years ago.
In order to protect the statue from Burmese invaders and looters in the 18th century, it was completely plastered over and its precious exterior hidden under a layer of stucco. The disguise was then finished off with a coat of paint and some pieces of coloured glass.
Wat Traimit became the concealed deity’s official home in 1935 when it was moved there after the temple it was housed at prior to this fell into disrepair and had to be closed. Since the statue’s true quality was still unknown, it was stored outside the temple under just a tin roof.
The Golden Buddha’s disguise successfully fooled not only looters, but also monarchs and historians for almost 200 years until it was revealed by accident in 1955.
During construction of a new building for the statue at Wat Traimit, a mishap occurred in which it fell from a crane while being moved within the temple compound. The impact caused some of the stucco to fall off, revealing the glimmering gold surface underneath.
The rest of the plaster was then removed and Phra Sukhothai Traimit was able to be viewed in all its glory.
The Golden Buddha is now the centerpiece at Wat Traimit and can be viewed by the public alongside pieces of the original plaster and information on its long, unusual journey.
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