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Wat Bowonniwet Vihara

Coordinates: 13°45′37.2″N 100°29′59.5″E / 13.760333°N 100.499861°E / 13.760333; 100.499861
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Wat Pavaranivesh Vihara
The Chapel of Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
AffiliationTheravada Buddhism
SectDhammayuttika Nikaya[1]
CountryPhra Nakhon district, Bangkok, Thailand
Wat Bowonniwet Vihara is located in Bangkok
Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
Location within Bangkok
Geographic coordinates13°45′37.2″N 100°29′59.5″E / 13.760333°N 100.499861°E / 13.760333; 100.499861

Wat Pavaranivesh Vihara Ratchawarawihan (Thai: วัดบวรนิเวศวิหารราชวรวิหาร; RTGSWat Bowon Niwet Wihan Ratchaworawihan, IPA: [wát bɔwɔːn níʔwêːt wíʔhǎːn râːttɕʰawɔːráʔwíʔhǎːn], Burmese: ပဝိုရ်နိဝေၐ်ဝိဟာရ်ရာဇဝိုရ်ဝိဟာရ်ဘုရားကျောင်းတော်) is a major Buddhist temple (wat) in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok, Thailand. Being the residence of Nyanasamvara Suvaddhana; the late Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, it is the final resting place of two former kings of Chakri Dynasty; King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) and King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). The temple was established in 1824 by Mahasakti Pol Sep, viceroy during the reign of King Rama III (r. 1824–51).[2]

The temple is a center of the Thammayut Nikaya order of Thai Theravada Buddhism, it is the shrine-hall of Phra Phuttha Chinnasi (พระพุทธชินสีห์), a statue of the Buddha which dates to around 1357. Bowonniwet has been a major temple of patronage for the ruling Chakri dynasty.[3] It is where many royal princes and kings studied and served their monkhood, including King Bhumibol[1] and his son, the present king Vajiralongkorn.


The golden chedi at the wat's shrine carries the relics and ashes of Thai royals.[1] The two viharas are closed to public.[clarification needed] The T-shaped bot holds a magnificent Sukhothai-period Buddha, cast in 1257 CE to celebrate freedom from the Khmers.[1]

The murals on the bot's interior walls were traditionally light and limited in their subject matter and style. They were painted to appear three-dimensional.[1] Monk artist Khrua In Khong introduced Western style in the murals depicting Buddhist subjects.[1]

Royal patronage and history[edit]

In 1836, Prince Bhikkhu Mongkut (ordination name: Vajirañāṇo) arrived at the temple and became its first abbot, founding the Thammayut Nikkaya order. He stayed at the temple for 27 years before acceding the throne of Siam as King Rama IV.[4]

His great-grandson, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX; ordination name: Bhumibalo), was ordained a monk at Wat Phra Kaew, and resided in Bowonniwet for 15 days in 1956. Bhumibol's mentor, Somdet Phra Yanasangworn, eventually became abbot of the temple, and later the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand. In 1978, King Bhumibol's son, King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X; ordination name: Vajirālankaraṇo), was also ordained and spent 15 days at Bowonniwet. Several of his sons from his second wife, Yuvadhida Polpraserth, later did the same.[5]

In October 1976, exiled dictator and former Prime Minister, Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn, returned to Thailand as a novice monk to enter Bowonniwet. This sparked large public demonstrations and a bloody crackdown that became known as the Thammasat University massacre or the "6 October Event".

List of abbots[6][edit]

No. Portrait Name Tenure from Tenure until
1 Prince Mongkut
(Vajirañāṇo Bhikkhu)
1836 1851
2 Somdet Phra Maha Samana Chao
Kromma Phraya Pavares Variyalongkorn
(Prince Rurk Paññāaggo)
1851 1892
3 Somdet Phra Maha Samana Chao
Kromma Phraya Vajirananavarorasa
(Prince Manusyanagamanob Manussanāgo)
1892 1921
4 Somdet Phra Sangharaja Chao
Kromma Luang Vajirananavongs
(Mom Rajavongse Chuen Navavongs Sucitto)
1921 1958
5 Phra Brahmamuni
(Pin Thammaprathip Suvaco)
1958 1961
6 Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara
(Charoen Khachawat Suvaḍḍhano)
1961 2013
7 Somdet Phra Vanarata
(Chun Brahmaphithak Brahmagutto)
2015 2022



  1. ^ a b c d e f Macdonald 2009, p. 108
  2. ^ "Wat Bowonniwet Vihara". Wat Bowonniwet Vihara.
  3. ^ Liedtke 2011, p. 57
  4. ^ Hoskin 2006, p.38
  5. ^ Williams, p. 57
  6. ^ วัดบวรนิเวศวิหาร, กรุงเทพฯ:มหามกุฏราชวิทยาลัย, 2546, หน้า 13-32


External links[edit]