Phra Pathom Chedi - History and Facts | History Hit

Phra Pathom Chedi

Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Peta Stamper

25 Aug 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Phra Pathom Chedi

Phra Pathom Chedi, meaning the first or principal holy stupa, is the tallest stupa in Thailand with a spire reaching 124 metres into the sky. Although the stupa has no historical origins on record, there has been a scared site at Phra Pathom Chedi since the reign of the emperor Ashoka on the Indian subcontinent between 269 and 232 BC.

Phra Pathom Chedi history

The stupa is first mentioned in Buddhist texts dating to 675. However, archaeological remains date back to the 4th century and suggest the stupa was one of the principal stupas of ancient Nakhon Pathom – the largest settlement of Dvaravati culture during the 6th to the 8th century.

The Khmer Empire annexed Dvaravati settlements including ancient Nakhon Pathom in the 11th century. The stupa was then modified with a Khmer style prang on the top. After Anawrahta of the Pagan Kingdom invaded and plundered ancient Nakhon Pathom, the city and Phra Pathom Chedi had been abandoned and overgrown by the jungle.

The remains were uncovered in 1831 by King Rama III and his son, Mongkut, built a cover over the original stupa in the Sri Lankan style when he became king.

Phra Pathom Chedi today

Today you can visit the incredible complex which, when viewed from above, takes the form of a giant Buddhist mandala and represents the Buddhist cosmology with Phra Pathom Chedi in the middle. Inside Phra Pathom Chedi is a massive golden statue of Buddha.

Each year in November, according to the Thai lunar calendar, a festival is held at Phra Pathom Chedi to raise money for maintaining the immense site.

Getting to Phra Pathom Chedi

In the centre of the ancient city of Nakhon Pathom, Phra Pathom Chedi is only 13 minutes walk from the train station and just off the number 4 motorway through they city. There is plenty of parking on site.

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