Wat Si Chum (Temple Of The Bodhi Tree), Sukhothai, Thailand
Wat Si Chum
The Temple Of The Bodhi Tree (Wat Si Chum) is said to be at least 700 years old. The temple was discovered by the archaeologist Louis Fournereau in 1891. The temple is a square shaped building (Mandapa) with a large seated Buddha inside the temple. Wat Si Chum is one of the most historically significant temples in Thailand, and is apparently the most studied of any Thai Temple. King Rama VI wrote about Wat Si Chum in a book written while he was the Crown Prince.
The reconstruction of the temple began in 1953, and was completed in 1956. In front of the temple there is a sign, showing photos of the temple taken as far back as 100 years ago. There are several photos showing each stage of the reconstruction of the temple. There are also photos of the original inscriptions in stone, that have since been copied.
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Wat Si Chum is located just outside the Sukhothai Historical Park, not far from Wat Phra Phai Luang. The Mandapa is at the northern corner of the old city of Sukhothai. The Temple is in a large open field with a large mango tree hanging over the Mandapa. Visitors to Wat Si Chum must pay admission to enter the temple grounds, Thai Nationals are charged 20THB, and foreigners are charged 100THB. This standard of two tier pricing based on race is common practice in Thailand.
The 11 meter tall stucco Buddha image inside the temple is slightly visible through a small opening in the front of the temple. The name "Phra Achana" means "one who is not frightened", as it is inscribed in the Wat Si Chum tunnel. The fingers on the right hand of the Buddha are covered in gold leaf, placed by visitors to the temple. According to local legends, Burmese soldiers who had invaded Sukhothai had fled after seeing the image of Phra Achana.
Wat Si Chum (The Temple Of The Bodhi Tree)
History Of Wat Si Chum
1887 - Lieutenant General Phraya Samasorn Sabbahakarn discovered the stone inscription in the tunnel of Wat Si Chum.
1891 - Mr Louis Fournereau photographed the monuments and stone inscriptions of Wat Si Chum
1907 - King Rama VI visited Sukhothai and recorded his visit to Wat Si Chum in his book titled "Thiew Muang Phra Luang" or "Travelling Sukhothai Town"
1935- The Fine Arts Department Of Thailand designated Wat Si Chum as "The National Monument".
1953-1956 - The governement of General Po Phibulsongkram sponsored the restoration project of Wat Si Chum.
1964 - The Fine Arts Department Of Thailand assigned Mr. Jamras Kiatkong and Mr. Prahpat Yothaprasert to copy the inscription found in the tunnel of Wat Si Chum.
1966 - The gated of the Mandapa (a square building) was restored.
1980 - The northern wall of the Mandapa collapsed due to storms and heavy rain.
1981 - The northern wall of the Mandapa was restored by the Sukhothai Historical Park project.
1984 - The base of the Pra Achana was reinforced.
1997 - The Fine Arts Department Of Thailand and Tokyo National Research Institute Of Cultural Properties began joint studies on the deterioration and preservaton of the stucco Buddha image.