Mondop Roi Phraphutthabat (Lord Buddha’s Footprint)
Roi Phraphutthabat (Lord Buddha’s Footprint) on Si Chang Island is an extremely significant sacred place of Thailand. This sacred thing is enshrined on a mountain slope called ‘Lai Khayasira (Kayasira Mountain Slope)’, in a white Mondop (a Thai style building) which symbolizes the faith of His Majesty King Rama V who built the Mondop on His Majesty’s beloved island. Nowadays, this white building is still standing prominently. This evidence from the era of Lord Buddha was brought to Si Chang Island in A.D. 1892 by His Royal Highness Prince Damrongrajanubhab who had received this Lord Buddha’s Footprint from Bodh Gaya. Thus, His Majesty King Rama V had the Lord Buddha’s Footprint enshrined on the slope of Phra Chulachomklao Mountain Peak in order to be the center of faith in Buddhism on Si Chang Mountain. The consecration of the Lord Buddha’s Footprint was a royal ceremony presided over by His Majesty King Rama V. The consecration ceremony consisted of Buddhist religious rites and celebration of the Lord Buddha’s Footprint. The ceremony was held from 28th to 30th April A.D. 1892. Also, His Majesty King Rama V named the mountain slope where the Lord Buddha’s Footprint is enshrined ‘Lai Khayasira (Kayasira Mountain Slope) of Chulachomklao Mountain Peak’.
The reference of the establishment of this place is the Nithan Borankhadi (Stories of Archeology), in which the attainment of this Lord Buddha’s Footprint of Si Chang Island by His Royal Highness Prince Damrongrajanubhab is described, as follow.
“I found a piece of stone engraved with a Lord Buddha Footprint of the right foot, which is around one sok (around 50 centimeters) in a temple in Bodh Gaya. From my inspection, I presumed that it is a very old object which might have been built during the time of King Asoka the Great or a little later because there has been evidence to show that before B.E. 500 (43 B.C.), to build Buddha images was prohibited. Thus, for pagodas and monasteries that we’re decorated with carved stones to depict the story of Lord Buddha had to show some other things instead of the images of Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha’s Footprints thus symbolized Lord Buddha before enlightenment, Lord Buddha’s palanquins and pho trees (bodhi trees, pipals) symbolized Lord Buddha after the enlightenment, wheels and deer represented Lord Buddha when he disseminated Buddhism, and stupas represented Lord Buddha at his departure. It was after B.E. 500 (43 B.C.) when Yonok people (Greek people who became Buddhist) and Khathararat people at the northwestern end of India invented Buddha images before other peoples in India adopt the idea until there have been Buddha images up to the present time. Lord Buddha’s Footprint might have been built to represent Lord Buddha since the time when there was no Buddha image. I asked Mahan, the Great Brahman for it and the Brahman willingly gave it to me. Thus, I offered this Lord Buddha’s Footprint to His Majesty the King who ordered the Footprint to be enshrined in a Mondop on the peak of Phra Chulachomklao Mountain on Si Chang Island. Afterwards, His Majesty King Rama V had the Footprint enshrined on the slope of the highest apex of Phra Chulachomklao Mountain to be worshiped by all Buddhist people.”
Details of the Place
This place is located in the north of Si Chang Island. On both sides There are clumps of trees and plants. Walking higher, you will see that the view of community, fish market, piers and lighthouse on your right will become clearer and clearer. The panoramic view of the glittering sea can well reflect Si Chang Way of Life. On your left, you can see green plants and grass that seem to beckon you to touch them. Before the parking space for motorcycles, there is another tourist attraction, which is Chulachomklao Cave. Walking a little farther, you will arrive at the parking spot where there are small shops of joss sticks, candles and garlands. Looking up to the Lord Buddha’s Footprint, you will see an old cement road on your right. In the past, this road linked this place with Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine. In the white Mondop (Thai style building), the bars around the Lord Buddha’s Footprint are built over a gigantic stone that served as bases, standing against the morning breeze and sunlight, looking beautiful. The upper zone is divided into 3 areas in the same zone, linked together with brown tile alleys, but having separated roofs. The white Mondop is the place to enshrine the replica of the Lord Buddha’s Footprint on a stone altar, with joss stick pot and the incantation to worship the Footprint. The longest pavilion with white roof on the right hand side us the place to enshrine the principal Buddha image and is used for holding religious ceremonies. The other area, which is on the right, is the belfry. Therefore, the place to house this Lord Buddha’s Footprint is really a sacred place for the pilgrims to worship.
It is said that everyone arriving at the Mondop of the Footprint will be stunned with the view they see. If you thnk that the scenes on the way up, as described before, are beautiful, the view from the Footprint is far more beautiful until many people’s brains memorize the view automatically and they can close their eyes and think about Si Chang Island, this view will happen in their visions.
Way to Mondop f Lord Buddha’s Footprint
For those walking up to the peak of Phra Chulachomklao Mountain, this white Mondop is like a resting pavilion on the way up. There are 3 routes to go up, as follows.
- The first route is the most popular one among visitors who have visited the Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine because it is the route before the way up to the Shrine of Katyayanach which is believed to bless travelers with lucks. Next, you will see the Cave of Pu Rishi (the Sage) which will bless worshippers with health, and Phuttha Ratana Buddha Image to Protect Thailand which is the last spot before the Lord Buddha’s Footprint. On the way up, there are plumeria trees and local plants on both sides. In the season when plumeria flowers bloom, the cement alley becomes covered with the beautiful flowers of Si Chang Island. This stairway, which is 268 meters high and consists of 336 steps in total, is the pilgrimage route that leads you to the sacred religious sites.
- The second route is the historical route that His Majesty King Rama V used for going up to preside over the religious rites and ceremony to celebrate the Lord Buddha’s Footprint. This way is on the right hand side after the arch of Chao Por Khao Yai Shrine. It is a moderately wide cement alley that allows two people to walk. In the lower part of the way, there are some columns that show some trace of His Majesty King Rama V’s visit. This route is around 370 meters and consists of 500 steps. On the way up, you can appreciate the beauty of the nature of Si Chang Island and remember the duties of His Majesty King Rama V.
- The third route is the motorcycle route. Visitors can ride motorbikes or hire skylap tuk tuks to go up this route which is a flat cement road. Both sides of the road are full of local flora. The route is wide enough for two vehicles to travel. On the right side, you will see pa panoramic view which will be more beautiful when you go higher. There are shoulders in several parts of the route for vehicles and visitors to rest. Near the end of the route, on the left side, there is a tourist attraction, or Phra Chulachomklao Cave. Going a little farther, you will arrive at motorcycle parking space and Khayasira Slope.
If you would like to walk up to Phra Chulachomklao Peak, you can go to the route of the history of the communications and signals for boats around the island during the time of King Rama V. The 290 meters height and 365 steps from the Lord Buddha’s Footprint to Phhra Chulachomklao Peak allow you to have good exercise. Visitors worship the Lord Buddha’s Footprint at the dawn in order to touch the first light of the day, which will be in their memories for a long period of time. To worship Lord Buddha’s Footprint will purify your heart and boost your merit, auspiciousness and prosperity because it is like to worship Lord Buddha.
Three Components round the Area around Lord Buddha’s Footprint
- Lai Khayasira (Khayasira Slope) around the Lord Buddha’s Footprint incorporates everything, namely, the white Mondop, Maha That Pagoda, the pavement and the road to the peak. There are historical traces of the transfer of the Lord Buddha’s Footprint that His Royal Highness Prince Damrongrajanubhab brought from Bodg Gaya Sub-district, India, which made this area in which the Lord Buddha’s Footprint is enshrined named by His Majesty King Rama V, ‘Lai Khayasira’.
- The Mondop houses the Lord Buddha’s Footprint which is on a gigantic stone. This sacred thing represents Lord Buddha and his preaching and is the most respectable thing of Si Chang Island that the locals and visitors worship and pray to.
- The belfry, which, in Buddhist belief, represents the understanding of truth and peace of mind, is a tall white building with a bell the size of which fit the building. Standing there, you calm your mind down and ring the bell three times to commemorate Lord Buddha, Lord Buddha’s preaching and Buddhist monks. The sonorous sound of the bell and the morning view seem to be the auspiciousness of life, making the one ringing the bell become popular and widely respectable. Designed and built by the Department of Fine Arts, this white building remains beautiful until the present time.
- To see the sunrise, around 6:00 o’clock in the morning, at the sight seeing spot of the Mondop of Lord Buddha’s Footprint, which is the only spot in Thailand where you can see the sunrise and Lord Buddha’s Footprint at the same time, which is the first light on Si Chang Island, representing the power from the sun that is the most auspicious thing
- To worship Lord Buddha’s Footprint with lotus flowers or garlands, together with joss sticks, candles and gold leaves in 30 baht (around the shop)
- To ring the bell at the Lord Buddha’s Footprint, which is deemed as the worship to Lord Buddha that Buddhist people have been doing from the ancient time up to the present
- To offer sets of utensils bought from shops around Lord Buddha’s Footprint in the price of 100 baht per set to monks from Chuthathitsathamspharam Woramahawihan who come up to run some rites every Saturdays and Sundays, from 08:00 to 16:00
The distance from the pier to the Mondop of Lord Buddha’s Footprint is 1.3 kilometers.
1. While walking up, you should not race with your friends or speak loudly.
2. If you want to ride a motorcycle, please drive carefully because there are many motorcycles on holidays. On the way down the mountain, please use slow speed and drive carefully.
3. Mondop of Lord Buddha’s Footprint is a sacred place. Please wear proper clothes and take your shoes off when you get into the building.
Incantation : Incantation to Worship Lord Buddha’s Footprint
Pray Namo 3 times first.
"Imang Phutthapathang Sajja Kharawena Wanthana Namamihang
Thutiyampi Imang Phutthapathang Sajja Kharawena Wanthana Namamihang "