PHUKET: Construction of a 1,000-ton concrete Buddha image, touted as the largest of its kind in the world, has started high on the Nakkerd Hills between Karon and Chalong.
Suporn Wanichkul, the head of the project committee, told the Gazette yesterday that the Buddha will be 45 meters high and 25 meters wide. He claims that it will be the biggest meditating, or Pang Manravichai, Buddha image in the world.
“We have budgeted about 10 million baht for construction and the foundations alone will take about 14 months to complete. We plan to present this project to the Father of our Land, HM the King, on his birthday,” he said.
The first Buddha image on the same site, made of brass and reinforced concrete covered with gold leaf, has already been completed, and K. Suporn said that he plans to celebrate the completion of that project on October 13-15 this year.
That Buddha, 12 meters high and weighing 22 tons, was started three years ago in an effort dogged by adversity and controversy.
The new Buddha image will be built on the same site – a plot of 42 rai belonging to the Forestry Department at an elevation of 400 meters above sea level. The project received planning permission in April 2002.
“The Forestry Department has constantly denied building rights for [related] commercial ventures but gave us the green light after we asked to construct the Buddha images,” K. Suporn said.
“We met with many obstacles but finally, through the donations [we have received], we can see that people want to make merit through it. There is no profit involved and this has nothing to do with politics. Donations totaling about 60 million baht have been received for the two projects.
“The world’s biggest meditating Buddha should be finished in the next three years.”
The tallest Buddha image in the world – and the world’s largest statue – is the Ushiku Amida Buddha in Ibaraki Prefecture, near Tokyo. The monument is three times taller and 30 times larger in volume than the Statue of Liberty in New York.
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