Holy Footprint Festival
Twice a year, in February and March. Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims will come to the temple and pay their respect to the Buddha's footprint and all kinds of shows, music, entertainment can be found on the grounds.
The Wat Phra Phutthabat, known as the "temple of the Buddha's footprint", is one of the highly revered and very important Buddhist pilgrimage temple in the list of the six temples of highest grade of the first class royal temples in Thailand. It is located in a rural area between the town of Saraburi and Lopburi. The mondop (a specific square or cruciform based building or shrine) of the temple on the top of a small hill keeps a footprint of the Buddha which was discovered in the 17th century. That's way it is called "temple of the Buddha's footprint".
Legend of the Buddha's footprint & history of the temple
The story began in the early 17th century during the reign of King Songtham of Ayutthaya Kingdom. The king sent the monks out to Sri Lanka to pay tribute to the Buddha's footprints there. Where the monks arrived, they were told that Buddha had also travelled through Thailand and the footprints should also be left in their own country. The monks returned and reported it to the King, then the King commanded his people to look for the footprint of the Buddha all around his Kingdom.
In the year of 1623, a local man found the footprints by chance when he was hunting. He followed a wounded deer along the way on the mountain slope of Mount Suwan Banphot, when the deer emerged from the bushes, it was suddenly healed and ran away. The man felt very strange and pushed the bushes aside, and he found a large footprint in the water. He drank the water, suddenly, his bad skin disease was cured. After hearing the story, the King ordered to build a temple over the footprint of the Buddha.
Wat Phra Phutthabat was built in 1624 and a temporary Mondop was constructed to cover the footprint. The temple was destroyed in 1765 during the Burmese-Siamese war. The present structure of the temple dates from the Rattanakosin era. The Mondop was reconstructed over times to the gorgeous structure it is today. Now the mondop is set on a marble platform. The rectangular structure, surrounded by columns, has a seven-story roof with green tiles and intricate mother-of-pearl doors.
Worship the Buddha's footprint
According to the Buddhists in Thailand, one worships the Buddha's footprint seven times in one's life then he will enjoy his eternal life in heaven and they believe the merit of worshiping the footprint of the Buddha will also bring success in life. People also sprinkle water onto the footprints or attach gold leaf to them to purify their mind and purge their sin.
Holy Footprint festival
The temple holds the Holy Footprint festival twice a year, in February and March from the eighth day of the waxing moon till the first day of the waning moon. During the festival, thousands of Buddhist pilgrims come to the Wat Phra Phutthabat to worship the Buddha's footprint. The temple is lively and there are all kinds entertainment, music, shows and lots of stalls with souvenirs and food at the grounds of the temple.
How to get to the Wat Phra Phutthabat
Visitors take a bus from Saraburi to Lopburi and get off at the 14 kilometer marker. Buses run frequently and cost little.
Wat Phra Phutthabat opens daily during daylight hours.
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