North of Royal Residence
of Maha Monthian, from which there is connecting gate ,
lies the ground of Chapel Royal of Buddha. It consists of
all the architecture features of monastery without however
residential quarter, for monks do not live here. Assembly
Hall, or Ubosoth, serves as the monarch's private chapel.
Hence the partition on either side of the main alter
intended as retiring room, which is never to be found
anywhere else but the only other chapel royal, that of
King of Thornburi, which serves now as Assembly Hall of
the monastery of Arun, within the former grounds of the
palace of that King.
"Emerald Buddha", is carved from a block of
jade. It is an object of national veneration and crowds
come in to pay respect to the memory of Buddha and His
Teachings, on certain days of the weeks, when it is open
to the public. Emerald Buddha sits high up on gold alter,
designed to represent the traditional aerial chariot,
attributed to Hindu gods on the murals of this country.
The effigy was first discovered in Chiang Rai in 1464,
brought down to Lampang, where it remained till King Tilok
of Lannathai brought it to Chiang Mai, his capital, where
it was fitly enshrined.
Later on, there occurred vacancy in Lannathai line of succession
and King Chaichetta of Luang Prabang, whose mother was
Chiang Mai Princess, was invited to fill it. He however
returned to his native land in Luamg Prabang, after
comparatively short rule here, taking the palladium with
him back to his capital. Then King Chiachetta moved his
capital to newly built town of "Viang Chan ",
taking Emerald Buddha again with him.
It remained there for long time, till King of Thornburi
sent punitive expedition under Chao Phraya Chakri to Viang
Chan, which brought back with it the famous effigy, of
which King of Thornburi was very proud.
When King Rama I built the city of Bangkok with Chapel
Royal and Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha was installed with
pomp and ceremony in the Chapel.
In front of the high alter, Rama III set up two newly cast
standing images of Lord, in dedication to his predecessors
on the throne, which were named "Phra Phuttha Yod Fa
Chula Lok" and "Phra Phutta Loetla Sulalai".
At that time, it was deemed impolite to refer to elders by
their personal names. Rama I was usually spoken of as
Initial Reign, Rama II as "Middle Reign" and
Rama III, Present Reign. Obviously such nomenclature could
not last and by Royal Decree , founder of the dynasty, was
to be referred to as His Majesty of the image of Phra
Phutttha Yod Fa Chula Lok and hisSuccessor as His Majesty
of the image of Phra Phuttha Loetla Sulalai.
Rama VI decreed the expediency of referring to his
predecessors simply as Rama, with due ordinal numbers,
because all of his predecessors bore the name Rama among
other names in full official Style and Title. There is
another effigy, Samphutthapanni Buddha images, held in
high veneration and placed in front of the high altar. The
image was cast by King Mingkut, Rama IV, when he was monk.
Murals within this building are:
1- Above the window frames, traditional life-story
of Buddha commencing with Southwest corner, in the right
hand of high altar, where is depicted his birth,
childhood, youth and renunciation in search of Truth; on
East wall, fronting high altar, temptation and
enlightenment, the figure underneath Buddha's seat being
that of Mother Earth; continuing thence along North wall,
the mission and death with its immediate consequence till
we reach Northwest corner of the wall. At the back is
painted the middle-aged conception of the universe.
2- Between windows are depicted some of the
3- Behind the window pabel are murals illustrating
4- Some of the panels of the doors contain
exquisite inlaid work in mother-of-pearl. They all depict
episodes from Ramakien (Thai version of Ramayana).