Bangkok has no lack of majestic temples, all more elegant and impressive than the next, but some really stand out with their unique architectural identity. Despite being quite near Khaosan Road and next to the well known Wat Saket, the superb Loha Prasat is not often talked about.
Also called the ‘Metal Castle‘, Loha Prasat is located in the grounds of Wat Ratchanaddaram and was even submitted to UNESCO in 2005 to become a world heritage site, highlighting the historical importance of the temple. However this title hasn’t yet been given.
Built in 1846 on request of King Nangklao (Rama III) and inspired by two other similar temples found in India and Sri Lanka, Loha Prasat is a 36 m high construction supporting 37 metal spires representing the 37 virtues toward enlightenment. The temple is erected in a very unusual way with multiples concentric square levels built on geometrically aligned pillars. A relic of lord Buddha is kept at the highest level.
Loha Prasat is the Indian name dating from the time of Buddha, refering to a multi-storey and square based construction with metal spires and originally used as Monk’s quarters. Only three such constructions ever existed in the world but only the one in Bangkok is still standing.
Being located so close to Khaosan and Wat Saket, a visit to Loha Prasat is almost a must if you happen to be visiting this superb area and its Champs Elysées style avenue… A small 20 baht fee is requested to enter this beautiful maze and its spiral staircase, but as often no one is around, consider the 20 baht a donation. Walk around the alleys created by the many pillars to discover the exhibition and history of this temple which was falling apart until the current king ordered its restoration. Don’t miss the large white temples of Wat Ratchanaddaram surrounding Loha Prasat itself and admire the golden seated Buddha and the beautiful murals pairings and door carvings. At the back of Loha Prasat is also a popular amulet and buddha statues market worth a visit. Cross the street to find a surprising wooden house village behind the white wall of the ancient fort. Continue later to Wat Saket, located at walking distance (note that you will have to walk around the fort to reach the street to Wat Saket).