The Emerald Buddha Temple or Wat Phra Kaew is a sacred Buddhist temple located in Phra Nakhon district or the historic centre of Bangkok within the precincts of the Grand Palace. The temple is a potent religious political symbol and protective image of Thai society and houses a dark green statue of the Buddha in meditating posture according to the Lanna school of northern Thailand.
Emerald in Thai means deep green colour and hence the name of the temple and statue which can be touched only by the king who also changes the cloak of the statue corresponding to the different seasons. There are three pagodas in the temple complex that represent the changing centres of Buddhist influence while the library in Thai style called Phra Mondop contains sacred Buddhist manuscripts.
There is also a model of Angkor Wat, the most sacred of all Cambodian shrines and a bronze image of a hermit with healing powers installed in the western side of the temple. In the east side of the temple there are eight towers of different colours that denote eight elements of Buddhism while statues of elephants symbolizing independence and power can be seen all around the temple complex.