THE CHAPEL ROYAL OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA
Just north of the Royal Residence of the Mahamontien from which there is a connecting gate lies the ground of the Chapel Royal of the Emerald Buddha. It consists of all the architectural features of a monastery without however a residential quarter , for monks do not live here . The Assembly hall , or uposatha, serves as the monarch's private chapel. Hence the partition on either of the main altar intended as a retiring room , which is never to be found anywhere else but the only other chapel royal, that of the King of Dhonburi, which serves now as the Assembly Hall of the monastery of Arun within the former grounds of the palace of that King . The "Emerald Buddha" ,is really one-piece jade. It is an object of national veneration and crowds come in to pay respect to the memory of the Buddha and His Teachings on certain days of the weeks when it is open to the public. it sits high up on an altar of gold designed to represent the traditional aerial chariot (Busabok , Sk. Pushpaka) attributed to Hindu gods on the murals of this country.
The effigy was first discovered in Chiengrai in 1464, brought down to Lampang where it remained till King Tilok of Lannatai brought it to Chiengmai, his capital , where it was fitly enshrined. later on ,there occurred a vacancy in the Lannatai line of succesion and King Jayajettha of Luang Prabang , whose mother was a chiengmai Princess, was invited to fill it . He however returned to his nativeland in Luang Prabang after a comparatively short rule here ,taking the palladium with him back to his caption . Then King Jayajettha moved his capital to a newly built town of Wiengcand taking the Emerald Buddha again with him. It remained there for a long time till the King of Dhonbuir sent a punitive expedition under Caopraya Cakri to Wiengcand which brought back with it the famous effigy of which the King of Dhonburi was very proud. When King Rama I built the city of Bangkok with the chapel royal and the grand palace , the Emerald Buddha was installed with pomp and ceremony in the chapel.
In front of the high altar Rama III set up two newly cast standing images of the Lord in dedication to his predecessors on the throne , which were named Pra Putthayodfa and Pra Putthaloesla. Now, at that time it was deemed impolite to refer to elders by their personal names. Rama I was usually spoken of as the initial reign, Rama II as the middle reign and Rama III the present reign. Obviously such a nomenclature could not last. The founder of the dynasty soon became His Majesty of thestatue of Pra Putthaloesla ; and later still they were shortend into merely Pra Putthayodfa and Pra Putthaloesla respectively. King Rama VI decreed the expediency of referring to his predeccessors simply as Rama with due ordinal numbers because all of his predeccessors bore the name Rama among other names in the full official title. There is one other effigy held in high veneration within the area the Sambuddhabarni Buddha-cast by King Mongkut , Rama IV, and placed on a seat in front of the high altar. The murals within this building are:- (1) above the window frames the traditional life-story of the Buddha commencing with the south west corner on the right of the high altar where is depicted his birth , childhood , youth, and renunciation in search of Truth; On the east wall fronting the high altar the temptation and enlightenment, the figure underneath the Buddha's seat being that of Mother Earth; continuing thence along the north wall the mission and death with its immediate consequence till we reach the north-west corner of the wall . at the back is painted the middle-aged conception of the universe . (2) Between the windows are depicted some of the so-called birth-stories. (3) behind the window panels are nursery rhymes. (4) Some of the panels of the doors contain exquisite inlaid work in mother-of-pearl. They all depict episodes from the Ramakien.
THE UPPER TERRACE
The whole ground is enclosed by the galleries , the murals of which depict the story of the Ramakien of the first reign version. If we start at the east gate we come to the initial stages of the war waged by Rama of Ayodhya to rescue his wife who had been abducted by Ravana, King of Longka . here are depicted episodes of the building the causeway from the mainland , of the campaign of Maiyarab the Magician who took the sleeping Rama away to the netherworld, the campaigns of Kumbhakarna and Indrajit, the brother and son respectively of Ravana and other campaigns wages by Ravana , loses his life is to be found just beyond the gate leading into the royal palace.