Wat Arun Rajwararam is a Buddhist temple (wat) in the Bangkok Yai district of Bangkok, Thailand, on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The full name of the temple is Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan. Named after Aruna, the Indian God of Dawn, the Wat Arun is considered one of the most well known of Thailand's many landmarks.
The temple is so named because the first light of the morning reflects off the surface of the temple with pearly iridescence. The monastery has existed for many years since the days when Ayutthaya was capital of Thailand. At the time named Wat Mokok, situated in a place called Tumbol Bangmakok. The word Bangmakok, meaning " Village of Olive", has since been shortened to "Makok". The temple features heavily in the book The Temple of Dawn, part of Japanese writer Yukio Mishima's The Sea of Fertility tetralogy.
The temple was originally known as Wat Chaeng. Originally it was located in the palace grounds and during the time of Rama I it moved to the other side of the river. It was abandoned for a long period of time until Rama II, who restored the temple and extended the pagoda to 70m. The Wat eshrined the emerald Buddha image before it was transferred to Bangkok in 1785 A.D. and it is believed that King Taksin vowed to restore the Wat after passing it one dawn.
The main feature of Wat Arun is its central prang (Khmer-style tower) which are encrusted with colourful porcelain. This is interpreted as a stupa-like pagoda incrusted with coloured faience The height is reported by different sources as between 66.8 m (219 ft) and 86 m (282 ft). The corners are surrounded by four smaller satellite prangs. The prangs are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.
The central prang symbolizes Mount Meru of the Indian cosmology. The satellite prangs are devoted to the wind god, Phra Phai. The demons (yaksha) at the entranceway to the ubosot are from the Ramakien. The white figure is named Sahassa Deja and the green one is known as Thotsakan, the Demon Rāvana from Ramayana.
Most of the tour packages around Bangkok offer a stop at Wat Arun, and it is an easy place to access by public transport. For the foreigners, the temple charges an entrance fee of THB 50 (as of September 2010). Wat Arun figures in one of Thailand's most colorful festival, the Royal Tod Kathin. The King travels down in a procession of Royal barges to present new robes to the monks after their three-month lent period.