My Hike to the Big Buddha, Phuket
When you are in Phuket, you are mesmerized by its white sand, turquoise water & blue sunny skies; luxuries living with mouth watering Thai food & not to forget the wonderful spa treatments. Although these are the reason you may choose your holidays at Phuket, I bet you would be astound by their spirituality towards Buddhism, culture & beliefs that will travel along back with you till your home.
After couple of days of exploring the tranquil oceans & pristine beaches around Andaman sea, I decided to explore the other side of Phuket, the Temples. Well, with this very note I decided to visit the BIG Buddha. As the name suggest it’s a place located at a hill between Chalong & Kuta, where you get to see the magnificent (about 45 meters tall) marble idol of Lord Buddha & an eccentric 360 degree view of Phuket.
Next thing I did is I called up Travstore representative, since they had taken care of all the travel arrangements. Within an hour the car was waiting at the hotel lobby (I was staying in Chalong). The road to Big Buddha is little tricky, Since the Big Buddha is located on the hills, the road turns steeper as you progress. You need some skills to maneuver your vehicle & thanks to our driver he was pretty good at it. I took about 40-45mins to reach the place & there was some climbing still left which had to be done on foot.
There is no entrance fee taken from tourists, so you can easily walk-in your way to the idol. However there are some rules that need to be followed. Like your shoulder & knees to be covered with appropriate clothing. It’s offering respect to the traditions & customs of the Buddhist culture.
The road to the idol is full of construction. You can see many workers busy in completing the project. To my knowledge it has taken more than 10 years to built the temple and all of it is done through the donations & charity offered by people like you & me.
On my way, I came across a small shopping arcade where one could buy souvenirs, lotions, aromatherapy products, Buddha idols, eat Thai street food etc. I got to know, two interesting facts out there.
- There are 7 idols of Buddha sitting in various positions. They reflect the state of the Buddha each day of the week. You have to know what day you are born as that day corresponds to a particular state of Buddha acting as your patron. I quickly checked in on my phone calendar to identify what day I was born. Well I don’t remember the day now, but I bought a small idol of the Sleeping Buddha.
- To offer the monks of the temple, they have money tree kept at strategic locations. One cannot directly give anything in the hands of the monk, so one has to tie the money on the tree. I did my bit by contributing 10 baht, you can offer what you like.
That’s not it; you can see donation boxes at every nook & corner, seeking for contribution from you to complete the construction. However you will find no one forcing you or urging you to make a contribution which is pretty kind & you do not feel obliged.
The more you proceed towards the temple, there are array of stairs with bells hanging all over. I have personally named them as “WISH BELLS”, simply because tourists can purchase these bells, write down their wishes & seek prayers from Lord Buddha to fulfill them. I purchased one of these bells, wrote down what I am seeking since a long time with the hope of my dreams getting fulfilled.
Finally, I arrived at the top, gazing the gigantic Buddha in front of me. You just feel a different kind of serene & solace in the midst of the construction, hustle bustle of the tourist & not to forget with the inner you. The idol is white & shining, soothing to the eyes, offers to seek comfort & peace.
They have also created a smaller replica of the Big Buddha where tourist can actually view the intricacy of the sculpture well.
Not only you get the view of two Buddha’s, but a massive 360 degree view of the beautiful city. The breezy air, the view of the city, blue beaches & sounds of the ringing bells add in to the rustic beauty of the place. I can swear that I can sit there for hours & hours just gazing the beautiful city, enjoying by the solace & spending time with myself.
But since I had travelled too far to view the Buddha, I decided to go within the temple. The sight was still under construction; however there were various idols of Buddha placed where people offered their prayers, sat for meditation, donated some money etc.
At the output of the temple, there was a counter with tile like plates kept. You could buy these tiles & pen down your suggestions or request. These plates are then sent to the Buddha as I understand & if the almighty wishes, he grants us what we want. Well I found it a little expensive affair as one piece of the tile costs 300 baht, but there are many believers who contributed out there which is pretty amazing.
Well, later on I spent some time alone sitting on the bench under the tree, there are many benches for the tourists to rest; Listening to the sounds of the ringing bells, talking to the breeze, capturing the panoramic view with my eyes..ahh just felt I was blessed.
So I hope you enjoyed my sweet little trip to the Big Buddha, I suggest whenever you go to Phuket, take out some time for yourself, get a little spiritual & enjoy the tranquility of this place.