Loha Prasat, also written Loh Prasat and Loha Prasad, is a multi-tiered square-shaped pagoda at Wat Ratchanaddaram. The name Loha Prasat means
"Iron Monastery" and the name refers to the 37 metal spires on the pagoda. These 37 spires represent the 37 virtues that lead to enlightenment.
Loha Prasat, Bangkok
Construction of it was started during the reign of King Rama III (King Nangklao or in full, Prabath Somdej Pra Paramadhiwarasetha Maha Jessadabodindra
Siammintarawirodom Borommadhammikkarajadhirat Boromanathbopitra Phra Nangklao Chaoyuhua) with the construction of Wat Ratchanaddaram, but after 150 years of
on-and-off construction, it was only recently completed during the present reign of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
From the outside, Loha Prasat appears to be three storeys high, but it is actually a seven storey structure.
View over the roof tops
Each tier of Loha Prasat has passageways leading from it going north-south and east-west. They number fifteen in each direction, on the ground level.
At the intersection of the passageways are small meditation cells. This is modelled after Sri Lankan monasteries that can have as many as a thousand cells, but at
Loha Prasat, the number is only about half of that.
Loha Prasat it is presently the only metal-lbased Buddhist construction left in the world, making it a viable candidate for Unesco World Heritage Site
status. It derived its name from the first structure of this kind built in India by a female devotee of Visakha, which was a two-storey building, featuring
1,000 cells for monks, with each cell able to take two or three monks. That original structure has a golden spire.
King Dutthagamini of Anurajapura in Sri Lanka also built one in 161 BC. It was a nine-storey pagoda with a roof of copper plates. This structure has
since been destroyed by fire, and only its 1600 stone pillars remain. The architects who designed the Loha Prasat of Bangkok had visited the ruins in Sri Lanka
and derived the design to blend with Thai architecture.
In 2005, Loha Prasat was placed along with Wat Ratchanaddaram as a possible future candidate for inscription as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
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