Phutthamonthon (Thai: พุทธมณฑล, also spelled Buddha Monthon, from Sanskrit Buddha Máṇḍala, "Buddha's Sphere") is a Buddhist park in the Phutthamonthon district, Nakhon Pathom
Province of Thailand
, west of Bangkok
. It is highlighted by a 15.87 m (52 ft) high Buddha statue, which is considered to be the highest free-standing Buddha statue of the World
The park was created in 1957 (which was the year 2500 in the Thai Buddhist Era) on the basis of an idea of Thailand's prime minister, Phibunsongkhram. The park covers an area of about 400 hectares, which in traditional Thai units is 2500 rai. Construction started on July 29, 1955, and the park was inaugurated on the Vaisakh Bucha day (May 13) in 1957.
After a long pause construction on the park resumed in 1976; notably, the main Buddha statue was built after that time. Already designed in 1955 by art professor Silpa Bhirasri, the statue was cast in 1981. The statue, 15.875 m high and located at the centre of the park, was given the name Phra Si Sakkaya Thotsaphonlayan Prathan Phutthamonthon Suthat (Thai: พระศรีศากยะทศพลญาณ ประธานพุทธมณฑลสุทรรศน์; literally 'the Graceful Statue of the Shakyamuni who was of the Tenfold Power, the Presiding Buddha of the Beautiful Phutthamonthon') by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Around the statue are sites memorialising the four main stations in the life of Buddha: his birth symbolized by seven lotus flowers, his Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, his first sermon and his death. Another important building is the marble viharn, which contains the entire Buddhist canon engraved in 1418 marble stelas.