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Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat Thepwarararm: Giant Swing

The Giant Swing 'Sao Ching Cha' at Wat Suthat in Bangkok is one of the endearing landmarks in Bangkok. The enigmatic red arch at the temple Wat Suthat.

The Giant swing at Wat Suthat in Bangkok is one of the endearing landmarks in Bangkok.

The enigmatic red arch at the temple Wat Suthat, was used in a spectacular festival in honour of Shiva - the Hindu God who predated Thai Buddhism.

The Giant Swing was constructed in 1784.

The festival gave thanks to Shiva for the rice harvest, and also to ask for the following harvest to be plentiful. A procession around the city walls culminated at the Giant Swing, and teams of men would get the swing moving in a giant arc, in order to reach the coins.

The giant swing had to be reconstructed in 2005, with the use of six teak tree logs.

Wat Suthat Thepwarararm: Giant SwingThe giant red swing was used by participants in the festival, who tried to reach a bag of gold - or silver - coins in their teeth - purportedly hung at the top of a bamboo pole - 15 metres above the ground.

Needless to say, there were fatalities in the frantic attempt to swing higher than 'competitors' in order to reach the gold.

The festival was bought to a halt during the reign of King Rama VII.

Wat Suthat is one of largest and oldest temples in Bangkok. It has distinctive architecture with many features than make it distinct from other temples in Bangkok.

Inside, there is a huge golden Buddha that dominates the interior of the Wat Suthat Temple.

This Buddha was bought to Bangkok from Sukhothai. The Buddha image - Phra Putatrilokachet - originally cast in bronze and stands 8.45m high.

The construction of Wat Suthat was started in the reign of King Rama I - the founder of the Chakri dynasty.

The full name of Wat Suthat Thepwarararm translates into "The junction of heaven, at the throne of Indra".

The Wat is often referred to as The temple is popularly known as “Wat Sao Ching Cha” - after the Giant Swing.