Wat Phrachetuphon Wimonmangkhalaram Rajaworamahavihara ( Wat Pho) is situated behind the Grand Palace, near the Tha Tien Pier. It is a large temple originally called Wat Photharam, that was built during the Ayutthaya Period. King Rama I ordered its complete restoration in 1789 and installed many Buddha images that were removed from abandoned temples in other parts of the country.
King Rama III ordered another major renovation of the temple to make it a center of learning and art. This took 16 years to complete. Texts from treatises on various fields of knowledge were inscribed on marble slabs and placed in pavilions in the temple and stone statues. Wat Pho thus became a source of knowledge for people of all classes and has therefore been referred to as Thailand's first university.
Important features of the temple include phra vihara, phra mondop or the tripitaka tower, and the palace of a royal poet, Phra Poramanuchit Chinorot.
There are murals in the phra ubosot depicting scenes from the lives of Buddha that were painted in the Third Reign. On the window panels are decorated with lai rod nam designs and inscribed children's lullabies and folk tales, while on the walls around the phra ubosot there are bas-relief's executed on marble depicting the Ramakian.
The Phra Buddhasaiyat, or Giant Reclining Buddha, in the phra vihara for which the temple is famed was constructed in the Third Reign. On the sole of the foot inlaid in mother of pearl is the auspicious number 108.
There are also 95 chedi of various types, the most important being the four chedi of the first four Kings of the Chakri Dynasty. There are also numerous small and large stone statues from China.