Sala Rai (left), Wat Phra Si Rattanasatsadaram or Wat Phra Kaeo, Bangkok
The Sala is an open pavilion used fro resting. Usually rectangular in plain, it is erected over four
wooden or brick pillars supporting the architrave over which rests the steep roof. From the level of the
architraves an eave is applied around the Sala to widen the shade. This characteristic is almost universal in Thai
buildings. Some more ornamented Sala have eight brackets corresponding each one to the exterior side of
the four pillars. These brackets, which in many examples of the Autthaya buildings, were massive and functional,
in Bangkok became a mere feeble ornamenttation, or were
abolished. Like the more important buildings, fine salas hve glazed tiles and wooden gilded ornaments on the gables.
The entrance and Sara (right) of Wat Ratchanatdaram, Bangkok
Some salas are more complex looking on account of two projecting additions along the longitudinal sides of
their rectangular plan, forming in this way a cross plan. In general, this kind of salas has no pyramidal superstructure, but in
other cases, such as the salas at the royal summer residence of Bang Pa-In,
near Bangkok, have the universal pyramidal roof.
Salas or public rest-house at Bang Pa-In Palace, Ayutthaya
Salas have always been built in large quantity also for civil purposes along roads or canals where people use
to pass and rest for a while. In tropical countries where the sun is so strong it is a relief for the passers-by to find
here and there some shelters. So much this idea is rooted in the mind of the Thai that to build a sala has become a kind of merit making.