The jaw-dropping Golden Buddha of Wat Traimitr in Bangkok is the largest Golden buddha Image in the world. It stands 15 feet 9 inches tall and weighs approximately 5.5 tons of pure solid gold.
It is crafted in the typical artistic style of the days when Sukhothai (427 km from Bangkok) was the capital of Thailand in the 13th-15th century. It is now more than 700 years old.
The image was originally covered in stucco plaster and the story how it was discovered still awed people to this day:
In 1931, the East Asiatic Company extended their work (with official permission) on the grounds of the abandoned Choti-Naram Temple in Yannawa District of Bangkok. The principal image of the Buddha was moved to Wat Traimitr to be enshrined there. They were all dumbfounded why the the stucco image was so heavy, so it ramained untouched on one corner of the temple grounds for the next 20 years.
It was only in 1955 when they finally planned to enshrine the almost forgotten image of the Buddha to the main temple. When it was tried to be moved, they found it impossible. They have to use a crane to lift it and place it on the intended shrine.
The crane tripped over, dropped the image and a part of the stucco plaster fell off! They were all dumbfounded of what they saw; The image, as it turned out, was made of pure solid gold! And it was crafted in the typical artistic style of the Sukhothai period. Now the image is deemed on its artistic value, it's history and of course its worth in gold.
It is now enshrined in a discreet corner of the Trimitr Temple where it was originally placed in the 50's. Tourists asked why such precious image made of solid gold is not guarded at all. Well, it is too heavy to be stolen anyway and the temple gates are too small. If somebody wants to steal it, he would have to use a friggin' crane and demolish the temple gates too! Not a very discreet operation, is it?
Legend has it that the said image was covered in stucco plaster to conceal it from the invading Burmese. Burma has a habit of invading and sacking the Thai Kingdom in those days (where are they now? Ha!). *one eye brow raised as high as Mt. Everest*
How an image, as heavy as this, was transported from Sukhothai (in panic) to Bangkok over 700 years ago still awed scholars and historians to this day.