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  1. #1
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    Exploring Phra Samut Chedi พระเจดีย์กลางน้ำ



    พระเจดีย์กลางน้ำ

    In this thread I will share with you some of my pictures of Phra Samut Chedi Klang Nam (The chedi in the middle of the water). I will have pictures of how it looks now and how it did a hundred years ago when Europeans first arrived in Siam. I also have some reproductions of the chedi being built.

    http://www.paknam.com/tourist-attrac...mut-chedi.html

    In 1862, Anna Leonowens wrote the following about her first view of Phra Samutchedi:

    On an island there "is perhaps the most unique and graceful object of architecture in Siam; shining like a jewel on the broad bosom of the river, fantastic and gilded, flashing back the glory of the sun, and duplicated in shifting shadows in the limpid waters below... Visiting this island some years later, I found that this temple, like all other pyramidal structures in this part of the world, consist of solid masonry of brick and mortar. The bricks made here are remarkable, being fully eight inches long and nearly four broad, and of fine grain. There are cornices on all sides, with steps to ascend to the top, where a long inscription proclaims the name, rank and virtues of the founder, with dates of the commencement of the island and the shrine. The whole of the space, extending to the low stone breakwater that surrounds the island, is paved with the same kind of brick, and encloses, in addition to Phra Chedi, a smaller temple with a brass image of the sitting Buddha. It also affords accommodation to the numerous retinue of princes, nobles, retainers, and pages who attend the king in his annual visits to the temple, to worship, and make votive offerings and donations to the priests."


    This is showing how the Chedi looked before when it was in the middle of the river on an artificial island. It was basically a sandbank before which they then built up.



    This satellite image shows how the chedi is now on the West bank of the river after the channel silted up. There is no exact date for when this happened. However, we do know that in 1933-34 they dug an 8 meter wide ditch around the temple as an attempt to keep it as an island. But, they were fighting a losing battle. In 1940, the Chao Phraya River was dredged in order to allow big containers upriver to Bangkok. By the 1950's it was no longer an island.

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    More information and pictures about Paknam and Samut Prakan can be found at www.paknam.com.

  2. #2
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    Re: Exploring Phra Samut Chedi

    May I link my report in my blog here as well? I went there in 2005, and found the chedi not as much impressive as it looks in your photo - it needed a repainting by that time as it got many black mold spots. But the building mentioned in
    another thread was open, but stupidly I did only take a photo of the statue, not the murals on the walls.

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    Re: Exploring Phra Samut Chedi

    I just checked my notes and I see that this photo, and the series of pictures to come, were taken in November 2006. The blue sky helped a lot as it is not always easy taking pictures of white temple buildings. As you are probably aware, the red cloth is changed every October during the Temple Fair. The cloth is paraded through the towns of Paknam and Phra Pradaeng before taking part in wien tien at this temple. Former prime minister Somchai was the guest of honour last year. You can see my pictures here.

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    Re: Exploring Phra Samut Chedi

    sounds like October is the best time to visit this temple. they are sure to clean up then, too.
    I remember clearly the day I went there - last March. it must have been one of my gloomiest days in Thailand. in the morning we went to see Gor in prison. and in the afternoon, I took the ferry to the temple (I love the ferry by the way). it had already closed and I could only walk around the outside. there was trash everywhere, mountains of it, discarded drug paraphernalia too. filthy stray dogs, skinny cats eating trash. at the base of the chedi, 2 glue sniffing kids. I didn't take pictures. it was one of those rare times that I wasn't feeling safe. the whole area was just so dilapidated. it can't have helped that I was already in the "right" mood for that, I know. it was a special day - taking a brief walk on the shady side, glancing into things I don't really want to see, and then being even more happy to get out in the sun the next day. something like that. on the whole, a lot more memorable and powerful than a perfect white chedi under the blue sky.

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    Re: Exploring Phra Samut Chedi



    History of Phra Samut Chedi
    - King Rama II was planning to build the Phra Samut chedi, also known as Phra Chedi Klang Nam, in 1822, but passed away before the construction actually took place. Following the decision made by his father, King Rama III built the Phra Samut Chedi on an artificial island in the Chao Phraya River. The construction started on October 30, 1827 and finished on May 28, 1828. The Chedi had stylized base with twelve notched-rims. This Chedi was used to keep the Buddha's Relics before being stolen in the later period.



    Later, on King Rama IV (King Mongkut) built a bell-shaped Chedi similiar to Chedis in Ayutthaya period over the original Chedi with 39 meter height as the landmark for people entering the Kingdom by boat. Twelve Buddha Relics were brought from the Grand Palace to be enshrined here in order to replace the stolen ones. King Mongkut also built other structures here such as the Tower of Candles, the Bell Tower, the Hall to enshrine the Buddha statue in the Flood Stopping posture, as well as posts for mooring boats around Phra Samut Chedi. King Rama V added a European Style Pavilion which replaced one of the small Chinese Pavilions built by King Rama III.



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    More information and pictures about Paknam and Samut Prakan can be found at www.paknam.com.

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    Re: Exploring Phra Samut Chedi



    These are some pictures of Phra Samut Chedi taken at night during the annual temple fair in October. The first picture was taken on a ferry boat as I crossed the river.





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    More information and pictures about Paknam and Samut Prakan can be found at www.paknam.com.

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    Re: Exploring Phra Samut Chedi



    These murals are on the wall of the European style pavilion in the grounds of Phra Samut Chedi. It is often locked. The best time to go would be during the annual temple fair. This series of pictures show the chedi being built and then a celebration once it was finished. A lot of the labourers for the chedi and also the forts during this period were men from Lao. The city of Samut Prakan was also being built during this period. It was built on the site of Paknam. They started work on the forts in 1819 and the city pillar was installed in 1822. This same year King Rama II wanted to build the temple on a sandbank in the river but died before he had a chance to start it. His son then built it starting in 1827.



    You will notice that this is not the bell-shaped chedi that we have now. This one has 12 sides. Rama IV later built a bell shaped chedi around this one to make it much bigger and taller. His intention was to show all foreigners arriving in the Kingdom that the people living here were Buddhists. This is what Anna saw when she first arrived in Siam.



    I am speculating that on this barge a Buddha relic is being brought to the chedi to be encased. On the four sides of the chedi are small Chinese style pavilions. The one on the left was later demolished by Rama IV to build the Vihan building to house the Buddha image. The pavilion on the right was demolished by King Rama V to make way for the European style pavilion. This houses a statue of King Rama II.





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    More information and pictures about Paknam and Samut Prakan can be found at www.paknam.com.

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    Re: Exploring Phra Samut Chedi พระเจดีย์กลางน้ำ



    For most people, Phra Samut Chedi is just another temple. But, if you know what you are looking for, then it can be a really interesting experience. In this picture, you can see the boundary stones which marked the edge of the island. If you can imagine, the grass used to be the river.



    This is where they used to tie up the boats and the center pedestal is where they would place the gas lanterns.



    At first glance this looks a bit strange but it is really the jetty where people would enter the island.



    This last picture for today shows the Bell Tower and the Tower of Candles. These were added by King Rama IV.

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    More information and pictures about Paknam and Samut Prakan can be found at www.paknam.com.

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    Re: Exploring Phra Samut Chedi พระเจดีย์กลางน้ำ

    It's a very nice spot. The restaurant next door has good food, and the island opposite adds to the overall appeal to the area. A little way downstream is a plaque commemorating the first Dutch trading settlement in Siam.

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    Re: Exploring Phra Samut Chedi พระเจดีย์กลางน้ำ



    This is back in the European-style building. The Governor of Samut Prakan, wearing green, is entering the building to pay homage to the statue of King Rama II. You can see the murals on the wall behind him. It is a shame they don't have any information here about what you can see in the murals.



    The Governor and his wife.



    The statue of King Rama II whose idea it was to build this temple.



    I decided in these next pictures to give you a wider shot so you can see the area surrounding the murals. As you can see, it is not always easy for us to document them.







    This last shot shows 21 monks chanting in this building during a wien tien ceremony on the 4th day of the Temple Fair. It should be noted that this temple doesn't have any resident monks.

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    Explore Samut Prakan Province - www.Paknam.com

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