Putthamonthon is a public park west of Bangkok devoted to Buddhism and a popular weekend spot for Thais. Its centre piece is a graceful 15.87 metre tall Buddha statue.
The park was built in 1957 on the initiative of Thai Prime Minister Phibun Songkhram to celebrate the 2,500th year of the Buddhist Era (1957 AD = 2500 BE). The park is enclosed by a square moat and covers 2,500 rai of land (Approx. 400 hectares).
The Buddha statue named Phra Si Sakkaya Thotsaphonlayan Prathan Phutthamonthon Suthat was designed by the famous artist Cerrado Feroci who was commissioned by Phibun Songkhram for many projects in Bangkok, his most famous being Victory Monument and Democracy Monument. The statue shows the Buddha in the “Leelah” posture, which means “walking gracefully”. Its height is equal to 2,500 Krabiets, a Thai unit of measurement equal to 6.4mm.
Despite the huge statue being designed and construction of the park commencing in 1957 progress was slow. Phibun Songkram was himself deposed in a coup the following year and for many years budget was lacking for the project. It was only in 1978 that the project was revived. Cerrado Feroci’s statue was finally cast and erected in 1982 (Twenty years after Feroci’s death), now as part of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the founding of Bangkok, with King Bhumipol Adulyadej presiding over the inauguration. At that time it was the tallest free standing Buddha statue in the world.
Around the statue are four sites commemorating the Buddha’s birth, his enlightenment, his first sermon and his death.
About 500m west of the main Buddha statue is the Great Viharn, located on a small island in a lake. This quite modern looking structure with nine beautiful golden chedi was only completed in 1998.
The Great Viharn houses 1,418 marble tablets on which are engraved the complete Buddhist Tripitaka or canon.
To the east of the park’s main Buddha statue at the far end of a rectangular lake is the Putthamonthon Viharn. This building is built in Khmer style similar to Rachathiwat Ratchaworawihan in Bangkok and houses a Buddha statue also in the leelah posture of walking gracefully.
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