Located in the North zone of the Sukhothai Historical Park outside the walled city is the Wat Si Chum temple, known for its mondop with a large image of the Buddha partly visible from outside.
The name of the temple translates as “Temple of the bodhi tree”.
This temple is said to have been built in the 13th century and consists of a mondop and a viharn. The viharn or assembly hall, of which just the base and rows of pillars remain, stands in front of the mondop. The mondop building (the roof has collapsed and is now exposed) houses a giant Buddha statue in the Sukhothai style, known by two different names. The name ‘Phra Achana‘ translates to ‘Buddha who is not afraid’ whilst the other name, ‘Phra Poot Dai’ means the ‘speaking Buddha’.
The Phra Achana is the largest Buddha image in Sukhothai measuring 15 meters high and 11 meters wide. The right hand of the image is covered with gold leaf, put on there by Buddhist devotees who come to pay their respect to the Buddha. The image was restored by the Thai Fine Arts Department in the 1950’s.
A stairway in the three meter thick walls of the mondop (closed to visitors) leads to the top of the structure. The ceiling of the stairway contained drawings engraved in slate slabs from the 14th century depicting scenes from the Jataka tales, the stories about the previous lives of the Buddha.
The name “Phra Poot Dai” of the statue appears with the legend of King Naresuan (1555-1605), who once sent troops to the temple to prepare for a battle with the Myanmar army, wanting to cheer up the army, he had one of his soldiers stand behind the statue to give a speech.
When coming to Wat Si Chum, visitors will certainly feel overwhelmed when they see the Buddha statue “looking” through the narrow door.
The temple are open daily from 07:00-17:30, the entrance fee is 100 Baht for foreigners and 20 Baht for Thais.
According to thaizer.com, tourismthailand.org, renown-travel.com