Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok, Contorted Hermit Mount and the Phra Mondob, Scripture Hall
Contorted Hermit Mount ( item 19 on the layout plan ) is a health park near the south
Vihara. Built during the reign of King Rama I, it was the centre of medical science
and knowledge from the Ayudhya period, reflected by statues of hermits or Rishi practising
exercises. For Thai’s, a hermit is always treated as an important tecaher. In former
times, the statues were made of clay; but King Rama III changed them to stone, and
only 24 statues are left now from a total of 80.
The contorted hermit was applied from Indian yogi. The artistic exercise postures
are supposed to cure certain ailments of the person who practises it. The inscriptions
of prosody framed on the cloisters columns are now kept in Sala Rai or Pavilions.
Those inscriptions can illustrate the hermit postures and are now famous as ancient
Thai traditional medical science centre, which was the main purpose of the ancient
kings to establish this monastery.
Phra Mondob ( the Scripture Hall ) , built in the reign of King Rama III with a
crowned, gabled roof tetrahedron elaborated with multi coloured Chinese ceramic bowls,
this hall keeps a small library of the Tripitaka or teachings of Buddha, which was
built in the reign of King Rama I. There are Porticos at the three directions of
the Mondob. The mural paintings about the beginning of Ramayana, Songkran tradition
and a Mon tradition are shown on the inner walls of the porticos, and the outer side
was decorated with Thai Verse Proverbs called Kloang Lokaniti . The rock giants which
were famous as Wat Pho Giants in the fight with Wat Jaeng Giants ( Wat Arun ), stand
on both sides of the sheltered gates. Item 15 on the layout plan