The Wat Ratchanadda is a Royal temple best known for the Loha Prasat or Metal Castle, a very unique structure in the Bangkok skyline. In 1846 King Rama III ordered construction of the Wat Ratchanatdaram Worawihan, as the temple is officially named.
The Loha Prasat or Metal Castle
The Loha Prasat, which means iron castle or iron monastery, has 37 black metal spires symbolizing the 37 virtues that are required to reach enlightenment. The 36 meter high Metal Castle consists of 3 levels, the bottom one has 24 spires, the middle one 12 and the top level has 1 spire, totalling 37 spires.
Only two other similar structures have existed in the world. It is said that during the life of the Buddha some 25 centuries ago, a huge Loha Prasat was built in India containing 1,000 rooms with a golden spire on top. Another one was built in Sri Lanka, the former Ceylon. Neither of these exists today.
Only of its kind in the world
The Loha Prasat of the Wat Ratchanadda was modelled after the one in Sri Lanka. Since the Loha Prasat of Wat Ratchanadda is the only one of its kind in existence today, it is under consideration with UNESCO to be made a World Heritage Site.
The Metal Castle consists of five towers, of which the outer, middle and center tower contain large black iron spires. The outer tower is the widest, the next one smaller than the previous one, creating a pyramid like structure.
The labyrinth of the Metal Castle
At the ground floor level you will find a great number of columns that support the towers creating a labyrinth like environment. Here is where the small meditation cells for the monks of the Wat are located.
You can climb the spiral stairs to the top of the structure. Just below the shrine on top of the Loha Prasat is an open air walkway from where you will have a good view of the temple area, as well as the Wat Saket temple and the Golden Mount. The shrine on top of the Loha Prasat contains relics of the Buddha.
Other temple buildings
The amulet market behind Wat Ratchanadda
The market to the back of the Wat is a fun place to explore, this is one of the best places in Bangkok for people looking for an amulet. Many Thai people believe in the power of amulets to bring them wealth, good fortunes, success in business or protection. Especially the older amulets can be very expensive.
How to get to the Wat Ratchanadda
Wat Ratchanadda is located on Mahachai Road, about 500 meters East of Democracy Monument in the center of Thanon Ratchadamnoen Klang.
There are not BTS Skytrain or MRT Subway stations in the area, the best way to get there would be by metered taxi. Mahakan Fort and the temple of the Golden Mount (Wat Saket) are in the same area within minutes walking distance.
Admission & opening hours
The Wat is open daily from 8:30 am until 6 pm.
Admission to the temple is free. There is a donations box at the entrance of the Loha Prasat where you can donate 20 Thai Baht or more.
Visit Wat Ratchanadda
“Rattanakosin, Bangkok’s oldest temples”
Full day private tour including guide, transfers, entrance fees and lunch