Giant Buddha of Phuket - Is this the world’s largest Buddha statue?
Wednesday 3 February 2010, by
- Phuket’s Big Buddha has become one of the island’s most important and revered landmarks. The image sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and at 45 metres high it is easily seen from far away. The lofty site offers the best 360 degrees views of the island (think sweeping vistas of Phuket Town, Kata, Karon beaches, Chalong Bay, Cape Phromthep, Ao Makham and more.)
Feb 2, 2010 Grant Osborn
Once stricken by tsunami, a tropical island in Thailand shows its strength by constructing an enormous monument to the Buddhist faith.
Sitting serenely atop a quiet hilltop in the centre of Phuket - its presence a stark contrast to the unrelenting hustle and bustle of the hectic resort island surrounding it, is a towering and partially completed giant Buddha.
Measuring in at 150 feet (45 metres high) and 80 feet (25 metres) across its base, this cross-legged colossus, its body layered with Burmese marble tiles, can be seen gazing down benevolently from many vantage points across the island’s west coast. Known to locals as the Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha, it seems to glow with an almost ethereal brightness whenever the sun emerges from behind its dense tropical cloud cover.
This monumental statue is being built to attract both tourists and devout Buddhists alike, plus of course as a constant reminder to locals of the supreme divinity of the enlightened one.
Big Buddha will cost over $4 million to build
The idea was hatched ten years ago, after which a foundation was formed to co-ordinate its construction. Building of the big Buddha commenced in 2005, with the completion date dependant on fund-raising efforts. So far 80 million baht (US $2.4 million) has been generated for the project, with another 70 million baht (US $2.1 million) envisaged as being needed to see it through to completion.
Revenue is raised via donations from the local community and from curious tourists who make the trek up the winding roads of the Nakkerd Hills. It is estimated approximately one thousand people visit the site each day. Many donate money for building materials, earning themselves the write to scrawl their name or a message on a brick or marble tile to be used in the statue’s construction.
Known among Thais as the Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha in full, it is 25 meters across at the base. The whole body is layered with beautiful white Burmese marble that shines in the sun, making it a natural symbol of hope. Though it is not yet 100% complete it certainly is worth a visit as the site, the views, and the actual image itself are all breathtaking.
The project had its hiccups, not least of which was battling through a mountain of red tape required to get permits to build in virgin forest at a height above the usual building limit. But the paperwork was finally completed and construction began in February last year.