For this post, I would like to write about another, yes another one, temple which I had visited in Bangkok. This temple is called Wat Saket or better known as the Golden Mount (Phu Khao Tong). This temple is located in the old city district of Bangkok. There are no nearby BTS or MRT stations though. I visited Wat Saket on the same day after I visited Hua Lamphong Railway Station, and at that time, I took a tuk-tuk from the station to this temple. The highlight of this temple is a large golden chedi on top of a concrete-covered man-made hill. I could not find the angle (or proper equipment, that is) to capture the whole view of the temple, but if you see the picture above in this post’s title, we can see the hilltop chedi in the background of the picture.
The history of Wat Saket can be traced back to the Ayuthaya era when it was still called Wat Sakae. The current name was given by King Rama I who ordered a major renovation of this temple during his reign. King Rama III later decided to build a large chedi in this temple which unfortunately collapsed as the soft soil could not support the heavy structure. After being abandoned for decades, King Rama IV began restoration project for this temple and finally it was completed during King Rama V’s reign. Later on, to protect from erosion in the future, the slope of this small hill was covered with concrete in the 1940s.
To reach the top, visitors need to climb around 300 steps which encircle the hill. While it might sound like a daunting task, the steps are not too steep and well plastered. There are also a couple of ‘rest areas’ on the way up where visitors can sit and rest a bit while enjoying the scenery before continuing the climb. On the top of the concrete-covered hill, we will find a golden chedi which keeps a Buddha relic. From here, we can also see the view of the vicinity around the temple, especially around the old city district. One particular notable sight is the cable-stayed King Rama VIII Bridge which crosses over the Chao Phraya river.
When I got back to the ground, I just realized that between the dense foliage, there are a lot of graves, as there are a lot of tomb plaques and shrines dedicated to departed family or relatives. It was a bit eerie to say the least. Anyway, it is said that every November, Wat Saket held an annual temple fair. The temple ground will be packed with worshippers who involve in various activities. The main event during the fair would be a candlelight procession up to the top of the Golden Mount. This temple is one of the most famous in town so expect a lot of crowd during those moments of festivities. As I have completed this post on yet another temple in Bangkok, I decided to continue this temple-hopping posts as I will write more on other temples in Bangkok in my next several posts.