Phra Pathom Chedi
The main reason for modern day Nakhon Pathom's existence is this spectacular orange/gold coloured Chedi at the centre of the city. It is not only the tallest chedi in the world but is also one of the oldest Buddhist sites in South East Asia. You don't have to be religious to feel the power, mystique and sense of timelessness that pervades this serene and sacred site. The original chedi dates back to 539 AD and like today's chedi, it was a bell-shaped structure. When King Rama IV arrived here as a monk in the 19th Century, he decided to build a new chedi over the site of the original, and Nakhon Pathom once more became a significant town. The massive new chedi is 127m from base to tip, its base has a diameter of 233.5m and it took 17 years to build. The dome is covered by orange-gold ceramic tiles, imported from China. There are four halls to explore which all contain larger Buddha images, including a magnificent reclining Buddha and there is even a cave, full of miniature Buddhas. Walk upstairs to the upper gallery and contemplate life for a while, before wandering outside to have a walk in the shaded temple grounds with its beautiful frangipani and Bodhi trees. South of the Chedi is a two-story modern Thai building which houses the National Museum of Phra Pathom Chedi. It’s worth as visit, as the museum contains interesting artefacts and historical remains which date back to 4th century period, and were found during excavations in Nakhon Pathom. The museum is open daily Wednesday-Sunday, 9:00am - 4:30pm. The Chedi truly dominates the centre of town, and it is the centre of town life. There is little doubt that a happy, special atmosphere pervades out from the temple into the surrounding area.