Wat Phra Kaew commonly known in English as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and officially as Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The complex consists of a number of buildings within the precincts of the Grand Palace in the historical centre of Bangkok. It houses the statue of the Emerald Buddha, which is deeply revered and venerated as the country’s palladium.
Construction of the temple began in 1783 under the orders of Rama I, the first king of the Chakri dynasty. Since then each successive king has been personally involved in adding, restoring and embellishing the temple during their reigns as a way of making religious merit and glorifying the dynasty. Many important state and royal ceremonies are held within the temple each year, presided by the king in person and attended by government officials. This makes the temple the nation’s predominant place of worship and a national shrine for the monarchy and the state. Throughout the years, each king has donated and deposited various sacred and valuable objects inside the temple, making it a treasury as well.
The temple complex is comprised of various buildings for specific religious purposes built in a variety of Thai architectural styles popular at the time. Despite these differing styles, the buildings within the temple adhere to the traditional principles of Thai religious architecture.