Bangkok, Page 117, Phra Nakhon District, the Giant Swing, together with Wat Suthat and the Grand Palace.
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Bangkok, Phra Nakhon District, the Giant Swing, together with Wat Suthat and the Grand Palace.

When Shiva descended to the earth, Naga serpents wrapped around the mountains in order to keep the earth in place. After Shiva found the earth solid, the Nagas moved to the seas in celebration. The Swing Ceremony was a re-enactment of this. The pillars of the Giant Swing represented the mountains, while the circular base of the swing represented the earth and the seas.

For centuries, the Giant Swing played a central role in annual swing ceremonies that symbolically re-enacted elements of Hindu origin stories. In Hindu mythology Brahma tested the stability of the newly created world by ordering Shiva to stand on a mountain while giant snakes tried to shake him to the ground. The swing ceremony had teams of Thai men in elaborate head dresses competing to launch themselves into the air, where they would use their teeth  to catch a sack of coins tied to the top of a pole 25 metres  above the ground. The stability of the swing and presumed success of the  people swinging, represented the unshakable Shiva of Hindu legend.

The Grand Palace.

I would say that the main attraction in Bangkok has to be the spectacular Grand Palace, it is a complex of buildings at the heart of  Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam ( and later Thailand ) since 1782. The king, his court and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. Construction of the palace began on 6th May 1782, by the order of King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke ( Rama I ), the founder of the Chakri Dynasty, when he moved the capital city from Thonburi to Bangkok.  This area however was already occupied by Chinese merchants who he promptly asked to relocate to the present day  China Town also known as Yaowarat area.

Having been here four times now, the novelty has worn off for me. But that does not deter from the sheer beauty of this attraction. This is the Place to visit, so be prepared for many crowds,  due to its popularity many first time visitors to Thailand make this their first port of call. The present King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his Queen Sirikit along with his family still use this for many events in their busy calendar.