Wat Prayurawongsawas Woravihara has the hallmarks of all ancient and beautiful temples of Bangkok: beautifully tiled roofs of ochre, yellow, and green, artful floral gables, detailed motifs contrasting spotless white walls and columns. Built around 200 years ago, the temple boasts a strong history.
The temple is surrounded by red weapons-themed iron cast fencing (originally imported from England and presented them to King Rama III for using in the Grand Palace). Another notable feature is an artificial hill Khao Tao where many tortoises reside. However, as interesting as those features are, its true spirit and character lies closer in recent history and in its massive bell-shaped chedi surrounded by 18 smaller ones.
In 2005, the abbot noticed the temple’s principal white pagoda that stands 60.5m-high was leaning. Worried, he sought advice from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Lad Krabang and thus started a tale of human cooperation. For five years, the university, the Department of Fine Arts, the nearby Kadeejeen community community, and the temple worked together tirelessly to save the pagoda from crumbling. The restoration was successfully completed in 2010 and the project went on to win UNESCO’s Award of Excellence for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
Today, the pagoda stands tall and proud on the west side of the river, stronger than ever. A visit to this temple is not just a cultural experience but also a stunning lesson in the love of heritage and the power of working together.