Wat Pathum Wanaram Ratcha Wora Viharn

Wat Pathum Wanaram (วัดปทุมวนาราม), also known as Wat Pathum, has for decades been the temple in Thailand that I have had a strong connection and relation to. The temple sits in the heart of Pathum Wan district, nestled  between a hip shopping street called Siam Square, and the two giant shopping malls Siam Paragon and Central World. 

The temple was founded back in 1857 by King Mongkut (Rama IV) as a place of worship near his Sa Pathum Palace. At the time of its founding the area was still only rice fields, only accessible via the Khlong Saen Saeb. The temple is a third class royal temple of the Thammayut Nikaya order. The full name of the temple is Wat Pathum Wanaram Ratcha Wora Viharn (วัดปทุมวนารามราชวรวิหาร).

The ashes of Thai Royal Family members in the line of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej are interred at the temple.

Among the various buildings of the temple is a sala partially reconstructed from the crematorium of the late Princess Mother of Thailand. The crematorium was a rare example of ancient craftsmanship featuring ornate stencils and lacquered sculptures. Known in Thai as phra men, it represents Mount Meru, the heavenly abode of the gods.

In 2010, during the crackdown of Red Shirts anti-government protesters, Wat Pathum Wanaram was used as a "safe zone" for injured people to get first aid. On 19 May 2010, six people were killed by (stray-) bullets shot from outside the temple.

For me personally, this tample has always provided a haven for meditation, peace and safety, like no other place in Thailand. I have spent more hours within these temple walls than I dare admit, I have had my cars blessed here each time I bought one, and this was also the temple I went to directly after leaving the hopsital when I barely had managed to fight off my last encounter with dengue fever. Additionally and naturally, this temple has become a very necessary stop on the way from and to the airport when arriving or leaving the Kingdom. 

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