Khao Chi Chan (Buddha Mountain) – Tambon Na Chom Thian, Thailand - Atlas Obscura

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Khao Chi Chan (Buddha Mountain)

Tambon Na Chom Thian, Thailand

Limestone outcrop decorated with a large laser engraving of the Buddha. 


Khao Chi Chan used to be a photogenic rocky outcrop with a Buddhist temple at its base, and it was mainly known to the local community.  In 1996, its status changed.  In commemoration of the King’s golden jubilee, a large image of the Buddha was carved into the face of the rock user laser technology.

Most of the carving was done at night to take full advantage of the contrast between the darkness and the light emanating from the laser machine.  Once the outline of the image was done, the engraving was filled in with gold.  The image is a portrait of a crossed-legged Buddha with the right hand resting on the right knee and the left hand in his lap facing upward.  This pose represents the moment Buddha reached enlightenment.  It is known as “Calling the Earth to Witness,” or “Earth Touching,” and it is the most common pose used in representations of the Buddha in Thailand.

Measuring 109 meters in height and 70 meters in width, this image towers over a pond filled with lotus flowers.  The temple compound consists of pavilions and manicured gardens where saffron-robed monks mingle with visitors and bestow blessings on believers. 

The rocky outcrop is the result of mining carried out by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

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July 2, 2021

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