Phra Phutthabat

28

Nov
2021

Phra Phutthabat

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In the early 17th century, King Song Tham of Ayutthaya sent a group of monks to Sri Lanka to pay homage to a Footprint of the Buddha. (According to legend, these Footprints show where the Lord Buddha walked upon the Earth.) The monks were surprised to be told by the Sri Lankans that, according to scriptures, there was a Footprint in Thailand. Song Tham, on hearing this, ordered a search for the Footprint. It was found by a hunter pursuing a wounded deer – the animal vanished into the undergrowth only to re-emerge healed. On closer inspection, the hunter found a water-filled pool shaped like a footprint. He drank from it and was miraculously cured of a skin disease. The king, on learning of this, had a temple built on the site, which subsequently became one of the most sacred places of worship in Thailand.

Today, the 5-ft (1.5-m) long Footprint, Phra Phutthabat, lies in an ornate mondop, restored in the late 18th century after the earlier buildings were destroyed by the Burmese in 1765. A museum here displays offerings by pilgrims, who flock to the sight each year. Phra Phutthabat is also the name of the small town here.

Environs

At Phra Phutthachai (“Buddha’s shadow”), about 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Phra Phutthabat, a faint Buddha image, probably painted by a hermit, adorns a cliff face. Pilgrims often visit this site on their way to Phra Phutthabat.

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