The Grand Palace is the royal palace of the Thai Monarch. The country of Thailand is one among many South Asian countries which still have a monarch at the helm of affairs. Although political movements have brought power out of the hands of the monarch and vested it in the hands of elected representatives monarchs are still respected and have considerable influence especially in Thailand.
The Rama Dynasty has ruled Thailand for over 5 centuries now and the current monarch is also of the same dynasty, Rama IX. Although the king no longer resides in the Grand Palace, the palace is still used for major ceremonies involving the king.
Every king of Thailand resided in the Grand palace between 1785, the year it was completed and 1925. Construction of the palace began in May 1782 under the auspices of king Rama I and was
completed in his reign. The Rama kings were founders of the Chakri Dynasty and were responsible for Bangkok’s prosperity shifting the Thai Capital to Bangkok from the ancient city of Thonburi.
After the abolition of monarch rule government officials no longer reside in the grand palace and its major role remains as a ceremonial palace.
The Grand Royal Palace is now a major tourist attraction in Thailand and in fact attracts the largest number of tourists throughout the year when compared to other major tourist spots in Bangkok. The palace is spread in an expanse of 218500 square meters and is among the largest monarchical palaces in Asia. The Na Phra Lan Road runs to the north of the palace and is the main transportation route. Many tourist buses are available on this route.
The royal palace is a major tourist attraction also because of its great location. It is located on the banks of river Chao Phraya; in fact all palaces in Thailand have always been built on its banks. The palace has a number of beautiful lawns. We took a long walk and explored the palace. Guided tours are also available. Visiting the numerous buildings of this complex palace takes a number of hours. We ended our trip by visiting the temple of Emerald Buddha which had a magnificent Buddha Idol studded with emeralds.