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Wat Arun
in Bangkok, Thailand, is named after the Hindi god of dawn, Aruna. Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, this temple can be reached either by Arun Amarin Road or by boat from Tha Tien Pier, near Wat Pho.

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King Taksin chose this 17th century Wat for his royal temple and palace as it was the first place in Thonburi to catch the morning light. The Emerald Buddha was housed here after it was recaptured from Laos, before beeing moved to Wat Phra Kaeo in 1785.

Even without the sacred statue Arun continued to be much revered and the kings Rama II and Rama III reconstructed and enlarged it to its present height of 104 meters.
Today, Wat Arun has a long elongated, Khmer-style, prang, the tower, and four minor towers symbolizing Mount Meru, the terrestrial representation of the thirty-three heavens.

The prang are covered with pieces of porcelain and dotted with Chinese statues which Chinese boats coming to Bangkok used as ballast.

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Steep steps lead to the two terraces that form the base of the Prang. The different layers, or heavens, are supported by Kinnaree, or half-humans, and frightening Yaksas, or demons. Pavilions on the first platform contain statues of the Buddha at the most important stages of his life, while on the second terrace four statues of the Hindi god Indra or Erawan, his three headed elephant, stand guard.

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Most tourists come for the climb and don't have time for the rest of the Wat. The main Buddha image inside the Bot is believed to have been designed by King Rama II himself, but the murals date from the reign of King Rama V.

Wat Arun is open daily from 07.30 a.m. to 05.30 p.m. To reach Wat Arun from Bangkok side, catch a cross-river ferry from Tha Tien Pier at Thai Wang Road. Crossings are frequent and cost only 3 Baht.

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