“It’s in a very lucky place,” Q assured us. “It’s built on the confluence of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River and it faces due east. Very powerful feng shui.”
I’ve seen the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace in Bangkok, all fancy in his heavy gold robes that the King changes three times a year in a special ceremony. No mention was made there of him ever coming from Cambodia. We’re going to Chiang Mai later this trip and will visit Wat Chedi Luang the temple where he was held there. I shall listen very carefully to their explanation!
I did some digging and the poor fellow does seem to have had a turbulent history. He was allegedly crafted in Patna, India in 43 BCE out of Jadeite rather than emerald. Imbued with supernatural powers, three hundred years later, the statue was sent to Sri Lanka to save it from civil war. Then, when the King of Burma wanted to support Buddhism in his country, he wrote to Ceylon asking for Buddhist scriptures and to borrow the Emerald Buddha. This wish was granted, but on the journey to Burma, a storm blew up and blew the ship off course to Cambodia. The Cambodians kept it. (Aha! It wasn’t theirs in the first place either!).
After the Khmer Empire was ravaged by the bubonic plague in the early 15th century and subsequently conquered by the Thai’s, the Thai’s moved the Buddha around a bit, but it ultimately landed in Chiang Mai in 1468 where it stayed until it was moved to Laos in 1552. In 1779, the Thai’s captured Vientiane, Laos, looted the Emerald Buddha (again!) and took it to Bangkok where he sits in splendor to this day.
We admired the multitude of other small gold and bejewelled statues within the Silver Pagoda, but I confess they didn’t have the excitement of the Emerald Buddha.