BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 – Thai and foreign tourists, especially Chinese, visited Prasat Phra Thep Bidon (The Royal Pantheon) to indulge its gorgeous beauty and pay homage to statues of the past sovereigns of the Chakri Dynasty on the Coronation Day, 5 May.
Prasat Phra Thep Bidon, or “The Shrine of the celestial Ancestors”, opens for public visit only seven days a year. Among those days are the Coronation Day, Chakri day, Songkran Festival, and King Chulalongkorn Day. Only female visitors wearing long skirt and male visitors with trousers are allowed to go inside. Today, the Royal Pantheon is open until 5 p.m.and can be accessed through Sawasdisopa Gate, opposite the Defense Ministry Building.
Prasat Phra Thep Bidon is located in the compound of the Grand Palace. It was built in King Rama IV’s reign on a cruciform plan with four porticoes and stupa-shaped spire for the enshrinement of the Emerald Buddha. The construction was completed in King Rama V’s reign. King Rama V did not move the Emerald Buddha to the new building as he considered it was too small to accomodate the congregation during royal ceremonies.
In 1903, the gilt stupa together with part of the edifice was destroyed by fire. After the repair of the building King Rama IV made use of it as the Royal Pantheon of the Chakri Dynasty, bestowing its name as “Prasat Phra Thep Bidon”.