The New Phra Maha Mondop: a Splendid Shrine for Highly Revered Buddha Image
For more than half a century Phra Buddha Maha Suwan Patimakorn (the Gold Buddha Image) has been enshrined in the current Vihan building on the grounds of Wat Traimit Wittayaram. The Vihan itself was built in 1955.
Now, the building is in a dilapidated condition and becomes too small to accommodate the large number of tourists who come to pay their respects and admire the aesthetic beauty of the Gold Buddha Image. It is thus deemed inappropriate to house such a revered religious statue.
The year 2006 celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Accession to the Throne and 2007 witnesses the eightieth royal birthday; in this context the Community of Businessmen in Samphanthawong District, the ethnic Chinese community, Wat Traimit Wittayaram, and devout Buddhists have initiated the “Project on the Construction of Phra Maha Mondop to House Phra Maha Suwan Patimakorn (the Gold Buddha Image) in Wat Traimit Wittayaram”. The goal is to create an exquisite new building to enshrine the Gold Buddha Image and to join the nation in honouring His Majesty during the aforementioned auspicious celebrations.
In creating such a grand scale traditional Thai style building for enshrining the highly revered Gold Buddha Image as well as for serving as way of honouring His Majesty on these special occasions, the plan of Phra Maha Mondop has been devised with meticulous care. The work is a collaboration of nationally acclaimed artists in different areas. This Buddhist architectural structure has been designed on the basis of:
- Sacredness and Augustness: To make this building appropriate for housing the revered Gold Buddha Image and for commemorating His Majesty on the special occasions, the design has been executed with the intention of emphasizing the grandeur of the structure to create an atmosphere of sacredness and augustness. It also aims to project the integrated values of Buddhism, architecture and fine art.
- Everlasting Durability: As the building aims to be part of the new architectural landscape of the Yaowarat area and to serve as part of a valuable cultural heritage for generations to come, the design has taken into consideration the durability of the construction materials. The structure is made of reinforced concrete. Marble is among all the durable construction materials selected.
- Contemporariness: Phra Maha Mondop is simple in design but is endowed with creativity. Its needs, usage and surroundings have been taken into consideration. A variety of functional areas have been included into the building—the Mondop itself, the community museum and the parking space.
The building employs applied Thai architectural style. It is designed to render harmony in the unique artistic style of Wat Traimit Wittayaram. The stuccoed moldings will be the major decoration. The roof will not be made of Thai style decorative pieces. The top of the building will be a four- faced structure in the tradition of the Thai prasat. The topmost part is embellished with a seven-tiered metal chatra (a white tiered umbrella). The building is to be decorated with the royal emblem in commemoration of His Majesty’s eightieth birthday anniversary.
Phra Maha Mondop will be built with bricks and mortar, lined with marble. It will be thirty metres in width and sixty metres in height. The main structure will consist of four storeys as described hereunder:
The Plan of the Project
The project on the construction of Phra Maha Mondop has been executed and supervised by the Fine Arts Department, the Crown Property Bureau and the Siam Cement Public Company Limited. The duration of work will be approximately two years and has been divided into the following phases as follows:
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