For the love of cities by Parishka Gupta
After a heart-warming trip to Pattaya, we were high and ready for yet another trip; for we had fallen in love with the tropical climate. So, with the will to spend a few more days in the Torrid Zone, we landed in the bustling city of Bangkok.
This city is ranked first in terms of traffic. We immediately sensed this achievement of the city when we made our way deeper into it. Oh, the view set before my eyes was doubtlessly a carbon copy of an evening backdrop at Connaught Place, Delhi. And of course, if the city is a bottle-neck, the atmosphere is filled with smoke from the vehicles.
As soon as we stepped into our given hotel room, we threw our luggage aside and got busy looking for a sky train to the world's biggest shopaholic's paradise-Siam Paragon.
You must have come across television advertisements of online shopping websites. Some of these advertisements notify us when the sales have begun. For giving this message, they show a group of girls swooning over cloth brands, yelling and cheering; as though the shops would vaporise any moment. Siam Paragon can drive you to those heights of craziness. The brands and dresses (worth slavering over) got the typical fashion-loving girl out of me who spends her whole day in front of her wardrobe. Jaspal, Jimmy Choo, Mango, Louis Vitton, Chanel, Aldo and all the other brands a girl can think of are here, waiting for more fanatical girls like the ones in the advertisements.
The nightlife of Bangkok is probably similar to any other densely populated city. The cigarette lighters and pens did catch my eyeballs. They were of intricate but suave designs bedecked with skulls and flowers. These designs did enthrall me. Those weren't the only things that a tourist would like. Branded T-shirts, belts, perfumes also flood the street market. Hawkers have their makeshift shops in the morning as well but saturate the streets like anything at night.
The next day, we were all set to take a pleasant ride in the reign of Lord Buddha. We were in line with a tour package which would reveal arresting temples of Thailand.
The first one was Wat Traimit. This sanctified temple houses the Golden Buddha. This effigy of Lord Buddha is made out of solid gold and weighs nearly 5.5 tonnes. It is also the largest golden Buddha image in the world. We were stunned and swept off our feet when our eyes rested on the Image.
With a nice souvenir in my hand, we headed to the next temple, with the sanctity of Lord Buddha suffused in our souls. We then came to another sacred marvel, Wat Pho; the temple home to the Reclining Buddha, which is a statue of Lord Buddha resting in the position of Lord Vishnu. And, whoa, the Reclining Buddha is 15 meters high and 46 meters long. One cannot look at him at a single glance. There was a deep sense of reverence in the big room. The calm countenance of the Lord, the sight of which, drifts one into repose. The Reclining Buddha is perchance the best statue of Lord Buddha I can envisage.
Talking about the temple architecture, I can't talk about it. The conical tops had such intricate designs and myriad colours and carvings. The temple covers a lot of ground and is in the form of a convoluted maze with sky-facing spaces, open-air stone corridors and squares with marvelous architecture. There is this stone corridor with a red roof and a row of replicas of the Golden Buddha; made up of clay, painted gold. I was amazed every time I entered a small gateway, anticipating to find nothing and was instantaneously proved wrong--for I found myself standing in an open-air square compound, bound with stone corridors topped with slant roofs of blue and red, neatly lined with rows of Buddha statues; not forgetting the center pieces of the square, merely constructed with stone but surely remarkable in appearance, indicating typical Thai architecture. I think one can go on and on savouring the rooftops and their beauty.
For now, let us move on a very "priceless" section.
Our next stop was the Gem's Gallery. This gallery is Asia's largest gems store. Before the sun could switch our status from 'Roasting' to ‘Burning’; we quickly shoved ourselves into the Gem's Gallery, and thankfully, were welcomed with an icy serving of coca cola. We were then directed towards a theatre and were made to watch a short film on the preparation of synthetic diamonds, extraction of gems and other processes involved in preparation of gems and diamonds. This gave us ample food for our curiosity towards the gems gallery as well as gems. When we walked out of the movie hall, our brains were hammering away at the complex processes of the creation of gems. Our imagination came true a few moments later; for, next, we entered a stuffy and heated room and perceived something we had never imagined that we would have the luck of doing so. The complete process of cutting, carving and shaping diamonds was taking place right before my eyes. Very small tools were at work. I saw a man take a dull lump of stone, do some processes, and in a few minutes, an unrivalled and sparkling gem lay in his palm.
Next, we entered a very big hall with a lot of glass displays. Within these displays lay matchless beauty and pure shine. Necklaces, bracelets and ear rings were bedecked with conspicuous gems set in a very discreet manner.
After buying a ruby and citrine pendant, still cherishing the brilliance and shine of every stone, we headed out and had a sumptuous lunch.
And that was enough of Bangkok for this time and I surely intend to come back again later. If one is a city-lover and enjoys the buzz of the crowds, Bangkok has its arms outstretched for them. Come when you please!