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"Nagas in the Temple Rooflines" Top 5 Page for this destination Mandarin Oriental Hotel Tip by Bangkokjoe

Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok: 6 reviews and 6 photos

  Nagas in the temple rooflines
by Bangkokjoe

Here I am exploring the area between the Oriental Hotel and the River City antique centre. An area of around half a mile sandwiched between the river and the main road past the Communications Authority Building, Charoen Krung...

If you are in the Oriental and need to stretch your legs for half an hour or so, before you're due in for your tea... it's a good area to wander, even if the main drag doesn't look too inviting. Take a wander up the back sois between the road and the river and you'll discover a few nuggets of Bangkok life and vernacular architecture.

Nagas in the rooflines... here we go.

Serpents and snakes – naga – appear a lot in architecture in various forms and disguises. Sometimes a serpent is shown in the act of creation, churning the seas into a milky froth teaming with life. At other times the old serpent pops up crowned and as a pair (nagaraja). Nagas are prominent symbols of royal architecture and many things polite for some considerable part of Siamese history (Siamese sounds soooo romantic huh).

Here, another thing about nagas. They’re interpreted as gods of fertility, and also pretty instrumental in producing rain. Don’t ask me why. But they are. (I think I get the fertility bit, the rain is what has me scratching).

However, nagas are also main protectors of wat complexes, and in this context they act as a sort of rainbow – bridging the worlds of the gods with the world of us lot. Which is why in the roof eaves of most Siamese wats, you get the wood work patterns as seen in this pic. And on the steps leading to the main wat entrance you’ll get them on the banisters. No stopping them huh?

Now you know. Wat snakes? They’re Nagas , and they're up in the roof petal.

This can be seen as part of the Urban Stroll around the area shown in the tip with the map, shown at the beginning of this section

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jul 29, 2005
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