Phra Pathom Chedi

You call that a stupa? This is a stupa!

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!

What we say: 3.5 stars



London has Big Ben, New York is the Big Apple, and China has the really big wall. But only Nakhon Pathom can lay claim to having the world's largest Buddhist stupa -- impossible to miss -- rising grandly from the centre of town. Originally constructed over 1,000 years ago, it has undergone virtual rebuilding on a couple of occasions. The first structure, built during the Mon Empire was transformed into a 40m high pile of rubble by the Burmese in the 11th Century. King Rama IV ordered restoration of the temple in 1853, replacing the original structure, but the inferior building fell down at a later date during a heavy storm. King Rama V finished it off, reconstructing it to its present state, and using imported golden Chinese tiles to cover the dome.

A festival is held at the temple every November when it is adorned with lights and other paraphernalia. Today, the Chedi remains the main feature of Nakhon Pathom, towering above all else. And so it should, as this is the tallest stupa in Thailand and the highest Buddhist monument in the world, reaching a height of 115m. The exterior of the Chedi is decorated with evenly spaced Buddha images as well as several bell towers.

Practising Buddhists circle the Chedi and ring each bell three times in a ritual which is believed to appease guardian spirits. There are two museums within the Chedi grounds. The first is on the east side of the Chedi, down the stairs from Lab Lae Lane. This crowded display contains a variety of ceramics, statues, shells, weapons as well as notes and coins, all with no apparent connection. The second museum is the official tourist Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum, located within the grounds at the southern side of the Chedi. The display shows stone and metal Buddha images found on the site during the Ayutthaya Period, 600 years ago. There are also stucco motifs from the U-Thong Period (13th to 14th Century) and Buddha images from the Ratanakosin Period (19th Century). All have valuable descriptions in English.

More details
Central Nakhon Pathom
Opening Hours: Museum open Wed-Sun 09:00-12:00 & 13:00-17:00
How to get there: Impossible to miss from within the city, you can walk to the chedi from any of the hotels.
Last updated: 22nd April, 2006

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