Among the major landmarks of Bangkok’s vibrant ‘old city’ is the Golden Mount Temple, known as ‘Wat Saket’ (วัดสระเกศราชวรมหาวิหาร) in Thai. The Golden Mount, a giant stupa within the temple complex which houses the Buddha’s relic, towers above Bangkok’s old city and provides a superb rooftop view of this vast metropolis in all 4 directions.
The history of Wat Saket (Golden Mount Temple) goes back to the Ayuthaya period. The temple was later renovated during the Rattanakosin period (A.D. 1782 onwards), whereby an artificial hill was later added. The Golden Mount hill was later crowned, and a relic of the Lord Buddha was finally housed in the chedi (stupa) atop the hill by King Rama V.
Despite the temple’s historical significance and it’s importance as a major religious center and landmark in Bangkok, this blog will focus upon the temple’s lush hanging gardens along the way up the Golden Mount.
During my recent visit to the Golden Mount hill and its golden stupa, I was surprisingly delighted by the lush tropical gardens that formed a dense canopy of green over the lower half of the hill, along with the charming hanging gardens, artificial waterfalls and ponds along the 318 steps that led to the prayer hall at the top. I was keenly impressed by the multiple levels of artificial waterfalls that adorned the winding path up the Golden Mount hill, which were adorned with tropical orchids, herbs, and ferns.
These gardens were replete with a wide variety of tropical plants, many of which are classical Thai herbs and trees under conservation.
Here’s a scene of another stunning artificial waterfall and the lush tropical hanging gardens, along the path heading up the Golden Mount hill. These multiple levels of waterfalls and hanging gardens along the upward path leading towards the summit of the Golden Mount imparted a cooling sense of serenity, a refreshing relief from the surrounding tropical heat.
Stunning artificial waterfalls and ponds were also evident along the downward path which runs on the opposite side of the hill.
Like the waterfalls along the upward path, these artificial ponds along the downward path featured numerous ferns, orchids, and tropical aquatic plants.
A lush canopy of tropical plants and trees now covers not only the base of the Golden Mount, but far upwards, as is seen in the photo below.
Here’s another view of the lush green tropical forest that can be seen approximately half-way up the Golden Mount hill.
I noticed that many of the trees here are traditional Thai favorites such that are currently under conservation.
In this scene midway up the Golden Mount, giant bodhi trees can be seen behind the row of elaborate temple bells.
Impressively, the temple monks and lay supporters have turned the Golden Mount into a small botanical wonder in the midst of Bangkok’s bustling old city. Virtually every nook and cranny of the Golden Mount has been turned into a tropical garden, as can be seen below, which is mid-level up the Golden Mount.
Here, a small corner near the summit has been turned into a lush oasis with multiple ponds of fragrant water lilies.
Even mall corners at the base of the Golden Mount have also been turned into mini-gardens as well, showcasing Thailand’s tropical flora and fauna.
I highly commend the monks and lay supporters of Bangkok’s Golden Mount Temple (Wat Saket) for their hard work in successfully transforming the temple, and especially the Golden Mount hill, into a lush green oasis in the middle of Bangkok’s bustling old city.
To this day, the Golden Mount Temple (Wat Saket) remains an active religious center, where Buddhist pilgrims come to meditate and pray at the summit of the Golden Mount, and where religious ceremonies, prayers, and meditation sessions are held.
The place has also become a favorite attraction for tourists, who come to admire the architecture, the gardens, and the magnificent views of Bangkok atop the hill. For more information on the history and location of the temple, please visit the following link:
Happy travelling, wherever you are in Thailand, and around the world!
Lat (Ratasit C.)