Monday, March 23, 2015

Sao Ching Cha: The Giant Swing

I was sauntering down the road of Bamrung Mueang after my trip to Wat Saket (The Golden Mount), when all of a sudden this masterpiece caught my attention. The structure was kinda familiar to me, "Aha! I always see this in some posters and magazines as the iconic symbol of Bangkok". This tall red religious woodwork stood proudly in the middle of the busy traffic roundabout. Yes, this Giant Swing is a swing. In fact, it was coated with history and religion not just a typical landmark.

According to my research (LOL), this 27 meter high structure was built in the year 1784 and was part of a royal event for the rice planting ceremony back to the Brahmanic past of Siam. In its heyday, this swing used to compete in swinging to its height while catching bags of coins with their teeth on one of the pillars. The said ceremony was discontinued as the swing had become structurally damaged by lightning but it was renovated in the year 1920. After few years, the ceremony was resumed but again it was stopped in 1932 since it was proven to be fatal and very dangerous. Sad to say, the swing was taken down and was replaced by the replica that stands in front of Wat Suthat today. The timbers of the original swing are preserved in the National Museum of Thailand. Giant Swing was suggested as a future UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE site.

To end, if you do visit Wat Suthat or Golden Mount, you can stop for a few minutes here before entering the temples and don't forget to take 'selfies' with Giant Swing as your background. :)

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