Located within the Grand Palace complex, Wat Phra Kaew, more commonly known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The main hall of the Wat contains the Emerald Buddha, which is made of jade, and clothed in gold. Only 66cm high, the Emerald Buddha first came of interest in 1434. The Buddha’s surface was covered in stucco, with no indication of the jade surface inside. When the temple the Buddha was being housed in was struck by lightening, a Monk noticed part of the stucco had broken off, revealing the jade beneath.
The temple also features three pagodas, all in different and distinct styles, representing the changing centers of Buddhist influence in Thailand. Phra Si Ratana Chedi, a golden Stupa in Sri Lankan style, is said to house some of the ashes of Buddha.
group of Nepalese and Thai Buddhist monks attend the evening prayer at
Mayadevi temple, to mark Buddha’s birthday in Lumbini, Nepal, May 9,
2017. Thousand of Buddhist monks from various countries and pilgrims
arrived in Lumbini to celebrate the 2561st birthday of Buddha at his
birthplace in Lumbini. (Photo: Narendra Shrestha/EPA)
Yi Peng is a full moon festival held in Northern Thailand, that coincides with another well known festival, Loi Krathong. Yi Peng is instantly recognisable for its lantern ceremony. The lanterns, made from thin material such as rice paper that is stretched over bamboo, are lit up with candles, and released into the night sky. Lantern ceremonies also usually involve meditation.
The festival is considered a time to make merit, which involves doing good deeds and focusing on good thoughts, to achieve spiritual liberation.