Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wat Phra Phutthabat, Saraburi

Wat Phra Phutthabat, the temple of the holy Buddha footprint in Saraburi, is one of the most important Buddhist temples of Thailand, but since it is located a bit far from Bangkok and without any further attractions nearby foreigners don't come there as much as Thai. However for a Thai this is a place which every good Buddhist should visit at least once in their life. The kings of Ayutthaya went there every year, even though at those times the travel was still much more arduous than today, where it's just 2 hours of driving by car from the capital.

During the reign of king Songtham at the beginning of the 17th century, Thai monks were sent to Sri Lanka to make merit at a Buddha footprint there. Soon thereafter in 1622, a hunter named Bun discovered the footprint near Saraburi, though actually it was only a puddle in a depression of the rock. The king visited the place, declared it an authentic footprint and ordered the construction of the temple.

The footprint is now located within the lavishly decorated Mondop dating from the end of the 18th century. It is 52 cm wide, 180 cm long and 27 cm deep, and always has coins and banknotes thrown into it by the pilgrims. The other very notable architectural feature of the temple is the stairway with the five-headed mythological snake Naga on each handrail.

The Wat Thai Temple Blog wrote about this temple before. For those who speak German fellow Wikipedia Hdamm has a travel report on his website, also Ben wrote a report on his blog on some of the traditions during the pilgrimage to this temple.


Eat at Benems said...

I have been there this year too (At the first day of the second month of the chinese new year) and my family wondered why there are no Thais visiting it, the only people there have been the malysian Groups.
Do you noticed that too?

Andy said...

I was there several years ago, and as it was no special holiday there were almost no visitors at all.