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Looking Back: History of the Emerald Buddha

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Looking Back: History of the Emerald Buddha | The Thaiger

PHUKET: The Emerald Buddha is one of Thailand’s most revered artifacts. Contrary to its name, it is actually carved out of jade. It is a figurine of the seated meditating Buddha. A beautiful and ancient piece of art, it draws tens of thousands of visitors to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew every year.

No one really knows who carved it or where it originated. Some speculate that it was carved in the north of Thailand, more than five centuries ago. Others believe that the style is more closely related to Sri Lanka.

An interesting legend takes us back to the early 15th century in Chiang Rai. Amid a violent storm, an old chedi was struck by lightning and ripped open. After the storm passed, the abbot of the temple walked up to the chedi and noticed an old Buddha statue with an emerald green nose.

He took the image out of the chedi, began peeling off the stucco it was covered with, and found a beautiful emerald green Buddha statue.

When news spread of the abbot’s discovery, people flocked to pay their respects. King Sam Fang Kaen of Lanna heard about it and insisted on bringing the Emerald Buddha to Chiang Mai, his capital city.

The King sent his elephant to transport it to Chiang Mai. However his elephant kept going to the city of Lampang instead, which he saw as a sign that the guardian spirits wanted it to stay in Lampang. He ordered a temple to be built where the Emerald Buddha was installed with great veneration.

In 1468, King Tiloka of Lanna brought the statue to Chiang Mai, where it remained for almost a hundred years, until the mid 16th century. At that time, Prince Chetthathirath, Crown Prince of Lan Xang, (modern day Laos), was invited to occupy the throne of Chiang Mai.

After being crowned, the young king decided to return home to Luang Phrabang in 1552. He took the Emerald Buddha with him. A few years later, the Burmese attacked Luang Phrabang and forced King Chetthathirath to flee to Vientiane. He took the Emerald Buddha with him, where it remained for the next 200 years.

In 1779, during the reign of King Taksin, a rebellion was brewing in the Laotian territories, which King Taksin ordered to be stopped. In the war that followed, Vientiane was captured and brought back under Siam’s hegemony. On his way back to Thonburi, Chao Phraya Chakri, leader of the King’s forces, brought the Emerald Buddha with him. King Taksin ordered the statue to be installed in Wat Arun.

When King Taksin was deposed in 1784, Chao Phraya Chakri was crowned King Rama I. One of his first acts as king was to move the capital from Thon Buri, on the western banks of the Chao Phraya River, to the eastern side. There he built a magnificent capital, at the center of which was the Grand Palace, with a temple built to house the Emerald Buddha. This temple became known as ‘Wat Phra Kaew’, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

The statue is a symbol of great veneration among Thais. During the early days when Bangkok was first established as a city, it was often paraded in the streets to ward off evil and mitigate the spread of disease and other calamities.

The attire of the Emerald Buddha, intricately carved out of gold, is changed three times a year, during the start of the hot, rainy and cool seasons. The changing of the attire must be carried out either by the King or the Crown Prince in a solemn ceremony.

— Anand Singh

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Thai Life

New WHO world road death report – Thailand drops to number 8 but still high

The Thaiger

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New WHO world road death report – Thailand drops to number 8 but still high | The Thaiger

Thailand’s roads remain some of the deadliest in the world. But the Kingdom has dropped from its previous number two position to number eight, behind a collection of backwater African states and other undeveloped countries.

A new report by the World Health Organisation shows that the road safety situation in Thailand hasn’t improved. The shocking news is outlined in a the WHO report, Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018,

The report indicates the death rate per 100,000 population in Thailand was 32.7. This ranks Thai roads as at least the deadliest in ASEAN and amongst the deadliest in the world.

Only seven other nations fared worse than Thailand, while the countries with the highest road traffic death rate per 100,000 population were Liberia, Saint Lucia, Burundi and Chad.

The report, compiled using data from 2016 from 175 countries, shows that Europe has the safest roads with 9.3 deaths per 100,000 population. The African continent had the worst rates.

The report shows that there is an average of 22,491 people killed on Thai roads every year. South east Asia, where motorcycle-related deaths account for 43 percent of the total road toll, had an average of 20.7 deaths per 100,000 population.

Globally, the report found that the situation regarding road traffic deaths is worsening, with someone killed in a road accident every 24 seconds somewhere in the world.

The WHO road death Hall of Shame…

1. Liberia – 35.9 (per 100,000 people)

2. Saint Lucia – 35.4

Equal 3. Burundi and Zimbabwe – 34.7

Equal 4. Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) – 33.7

5. Central African Republic – 33.6

6. Thailand – 32.7

7. Burkina Faso – 30.5

8. Namibia – 30.4

9. Cameroon – 30.1

10. Mozambique – 30.1

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Thailand

Floating clinic opens in Kanchanaburi

The Thaiger

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Floating clinic opens in Kanchanaburi | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Pattaya Mail

Last week saw residents and visitors to Srinakaring Dam in Sri Sawat district, Kanchanaburi, in Thailand’s west, witness the first day of operations of a new floating medical unit.

The Bangkok Post reports that the dam is a huge tourist magnet which attracts 800,000 tourist a year in an area where 140 businesses operate and over 600 towing rafts reside. Due to reports of accidents (sometimes with fatal results) the Public Health Ministry’s Health Region 5 came up with the ‘floating clinic’.

The clinic boasts a solar cell power system able to function during power outages, as well as modern and efficient communications systems in case of emergencies. The floating clinic is equipped with beds for check-ups, respirators, medical supplies and basic lifesaving equipment.

The project will provide help to tourists and locals in case medical attention is required. Depending on the severity there are referral vessels such as jet skis and speedboats available for quick access to local hospitals, with helicopter landing pads planned for the near future.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post 

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Bangkok

Top 10 most popular Asian cities 2018 – Agoda

The Thaiger

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Top 10 most popular Asian cities 2018 – Agoda | The Thaiger

Bangkok ranks on top of the list of most-visited Asian city tourist destination for 2018. This is from Agoda, a fast-growing online travel booking platform. With millions of online bookings each year they have the data to back up their findings.

Other cities in the top 10 include Tokyo, Kuala Lumpor, Hong Kong, Osaka, Taipei, Seoul, Singapore, Bali and Pattaya.

Agoda says both Thai and foreign tourists would normally lodge in Bangkok for a night or more before continuing to the other destinations.

Agoda also reported that Thailand was placed second after Japan among Asian countries most visited by tourists because of the country’s rich cultural and historical tourist attractions, clean beaches and world-class cuisine.

The 10 most popular cities among Thai tourists are Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Phuket, Tokyo, Khao Yai, Chon Buri, Krabi and Chiang Rai.

The most-favoured country for sight-seeing among Thai tourists is Japan followed by Singapore.

Top 10 most popular Asian cities 2018 - Agoda | News by The Thaiger

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