This is dwarfed by the giant Buddha image, which is facing eastward toward Chalong Bay and Phang Nga Bay beyond. The Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha – to give it its official name – is 45 meters high and 25 meters across at the base.
It is expected to cost about 30 million baht to complete the giant image. “So far we have received donations of more than 20 million baht,” said Khun Suporn. “The money has come from everywhere, from locals, from Thais in other provinces and from foreign tourists. With our website and the help we have had from the press, we have even received donations from overseas.”
The work is going well.
The smaller Buddha image, Khun Suporn explained, will be devoted to HM Queen Sirikit, while the big one will be devoted to HM King Bhumibol to celebrate his 80th birthday. Even though the completion date is still a year off, the site is already attracting the devout and the curious, with sometimes as many as 1,000 people a day visiting it. Its most celebrated visitor so far was HRH Princess Ubol Ratana Rajakanya, who attended a prayer ceremony at the site early last year.
The 49-rai (7.8-hectare) site is already surrounded by beautiful tropical rain forest, so there is no hurry to landscape the site, said K. Suporn. “We want to get the big Buddha image done first, then we will deal with the landscaping later. “When it is complete, this place will be one of the most celebrated landmarks of Phuket. It offers everyone some of the most stunning views, all set in peaceful forest,” he added.
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