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Phra Phutta Monthon (พระพุทธมณฑล)

Thai-Pali. ‘Buddha-circle’ or ‘Buddha-mandala (fig.)’. Name of a 2,500 krabiad (15.875 meters) high image of a walking Buddha in Sukhothai style, designed by Corrado Feroci (fig.) located in Phutta Monthon, a large Buddhist compound in Nakhon Pathom province (fig.), which is shaped like a giant mandala (fig.). Whereas the Buddha image is usually referred to as Phra Phutta Monthon, the park is also called just Phutta Monthon. The complex was built in 1957 to commemorate the celebration of the 25th Century of the Buddhist Era (2500 BE) and is erected in a 2,500 rai (ca. 400 hectare) landscaped park with topiary, in the tambon Salaya (ศาลายา), in the ampheu Phutthamonthon (พุทธมณฑล), near the city of Nakhon Pathom. Construction which took three years to complete, started in 1954 by directive of the then prime minister Field Marshal Phibun Songkram (fig.). The height of the Buddha image as well as the size of the park symbolically represent the year 2500 (fig.). The park is also referred to as Phra Phutta Monthon and contains several tahnphraphuttarup (pedestals for Buddha images) in granite (fig.), representing the major stages in the Buddha's life and in Thai-Pali referred to as sangwechaniyasathaan sih tambon (สังเวชนียสถาน ๔ ตำบล), i.e. the four most important stages of the Buddha's life, namely his birth (fig.), his Enlightenment (fig.), his first discourse (fig.), and his demise (fig.). These stages, symbolized by stone pedestals, are also represented on a set of Thai postage stamps issued in 1988 (fig.). The area also has a temporary residence for the Buddhist patriarch, a residence for guest monks, a vihaan, meditation halls, a ceremonial hall and a Buddhist museum (fig.). In the western side of the park is a Thai herbs pavilion and to the South of it a mango garden. At present important Buddhist ceremonies and festivals, such as Visakha Bucha, Makha Bucha, Asaanha Bucha and Loi Krathong, are held at the Phra Phutta Monthon compound. A replica of the Phra Sian (head) of the Phra Phutta Monthon Buddha image stands in the Hall of Sculpture at the Silpakorn University in Bangkok (fig.). In 2007 (2551 BE) the Phra Phutta Monthon Buddha image was refurbished (fig.). The full, official name of the Phra Phutta Monthon Buddha image in Thai is Phra Sri Sakkaya Thotsaphonlayan Prathan Phutta Monthon Sutthat. Also transcibed Phra Phuttamonthon. See also POSTAGE STAMP (1), (2) and (3), QUADCOPTER PICTURE, and TRAVEL PICTURES (1) and (2).