22 March 1784

The Emerald Buddha is moved with great ceremony to its current location in Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand.

The Emerald Buddha is one of the most revered icons in Thailand, housed within the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) located within the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Despite its name, the statue is not actually made of emerald but of jade or jasper. It measures approximately 66 centimeters (26 inches) tall and sits in a meditative posture atop a golden pedestal.

The history of the Emerald Buddha is shrouded in legend and mystique. It is believed to have originated in India and to have been brought to various locations before eventually finding its way to Thailand in the 15th century. According to legend, the statue was discovered in 1434 in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand, after a lightning storm struck a chedi (stupa), revealing the Buddha hidden within.

The statue has an intricate and varied history. It has been moved several times, residing in different locations throughout Thailand, including Chiang Rai, Lampang, and Vientiane (Laos), before finally being enshrined in Bangkok by King Rama I in 1782. Since then, it has remained within the confines of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

The Emerald Buddha is highly revered by the Thai people and holds significant religious and cultural importance. It is considered the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand, symbolizing the nation’s prosperity and stability. The statue is a focal point of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhists from Thailand and around the world. The changing of its ceremonial robes, performed by the Thai king during the changing of seasons, is a highly anticipated event.

Visitors to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha can view the statue from a distance, as photography and close proximity are not permitted. The temple complex itself is a masterpiece of Thai architecture, featuring intricate details, colorful murals, and stunning decorative elements.