Wat Phra Phutthabat
Located in Amphoe Phra Phutthabat; 28 kms. north of the town along Highway No.1; it is one of the most beautiful religious sites in Thailand. The temple houses the footprint of Lord Buddha found on a stone panel near Suwan Banpot Hill. The footprint was found in the reign of King Songtham of Ayutthaya. A cone-shaped structure or mondop was built to cover the footprint. The beautiful mondop; which is a square building has a seven-level castle roof. Each level is decorated with an arch supported by wood and decorated with gold and coloured glass. The external walls are also decorated with gold and coloured glass in the shapes of mythological gods and rice offering ceremonies. The pearl inlay artwork on the mondop doors is one of the best samples of this type of craftsmanship in the country. A five headed Naga, mythical serpent, cast in bronze flanks the stairs to the stairs to the mondop entrance. The mondop is surrounded by bells used by visitors to make merit for other people. A museum in the temple displays many ancient objects including King Songtham’s attire, old weapons, bronzeware and ceramics. Annual fairs celebrating the footprint are held twice a year, in February and March.
The Footprint was first discovered in the reign of King Song Tham (1610 – 1628). A group of monks went on a pilgrimage to Ceylon to worship the Buddha’s Footprint at Mount Sumanakut. They were told by the Ceylonese monks that one of the Lord Buddha’s Footprint might be found in Thailand. On hearing this, the king ordered his officials in all parts of the kingdom to look for it for the location of the Footprint had not been identified.
Meantime, in a distant area of Saraburi, a hunter while trailing a wounded deer to this hilly part found a large, curiously shaped hollow in a rock with water in the hollow. The shape of the hollow resembles the footprint of a very large man. The hunter therefore reported his finding to the town governor who, having verified it, sent word to the capital. King Song Tham came himself to examine it and saw the appropriate signs of a Buddha’s Footprint. Thus the site was declared a Buddhist shrine and a mondop was built over the Footprint while the land around the Footprint was made into a town named “Parantapa” or “Muang Khied Khin”. The hill on which the Footprint was found was renamed Mount Suwan Banphot or Mount Satjaphan Khiri.