In Photos: The Golden Temple in Thailand

by Lindsay Shapka in

Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the massive grounds and stunning buildings of Wat Phra Kaew sit in the heart of Bangkok's ancient royal district and right next to the former residence of the monarch, the Grand Palace. 

More than 100 buildings are scattered across the extensive grounds that have become a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists and nationalists. The biggest draw, however is the Emerald Buddha that sits atop an elevated alter, is cloaked in royal robes and is surrounded by gilded treasures.   

Because Buddha images are SO sacred in Thailand, the act of taking a photo of this Buddha would have gotten me kicked out of the complex or, depending on the mood of the people who caught me doing it, potentially arrested.  

In order to even walk through the front gate of the huge complex, you have to have your shoulders, knees and toes covered (sarongs and baggy pants are usually available), and you have to be very careful to NEVER point your feet (considered to be the lowest/dirtiest part of your body) towards a Buddha statue. 

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