Wat Si Chum, Sukhothai Province
This lies about 1,500 meters north of Wat Mahathat and was originally surrounded by a moat. A square mondop is the main sanctuary and contains a monumental stucco-over-brick Buddha image in the attitude Subduing Mara, called "Phra Achana". This Buddha measures 11.30 meters from knee to knee.
The mondop is 32 meters square and 15 meters high, and the walls are 3 meters thick. There is a passageway in the left inner wall itself which leads to the above crossbeam. On the ceiling of the passageway are more than fifty engraved slate slabs illustrating Jataka scenes.
At Wat Si Chum there is a mondop that houses a large stucco image of the Buddha in the Marnvichai position, as described in the first stone inscription. A tunnel has been made leading to the temple's south wall, where there is a stariway to the roof. Over the ceiling are 20 stone pillars, with inscriptions in the Thai alphabet of the Sukhothai Period.

Outside the city wall at the northwest corner, this ancient monument is well known for a large sitting Buddha image. The Buddha image, with a lap 11.30 metres wide, occupies the total space of the building. Mentioned in Stone Inscription No. 1, Phra Achana, the name of this Buddha image, means one who is not frightened. It is believed that Phra Achana was originally carved in the attitude of subduing Mara. The present one in sitting posture was renovated from 1953 to 1956.
The word Si derives from Sali, an indigenous word which means a bodhi tree. Therefore, the name Si Chum signifies a bodhi grove. In a book entitled Phra Ratchaphongsawadan Krung Si Ayutthaya written in the late Ayutthaya period, the word Si Chum is mistaken for Rsi Chum and refers to a place where King Naresuan and his troops assembled before marching on Sawankhalok and from which the legend of the talking Buddha image (Phra Achana) derives.
Stone Inscription No. 2, known as the Wat Si Chum Inscription, was found in a recess in the mandapa wall of this temple. Regarded as historical evidence of great value, this stone inscription deals with the founding of the Sukhothai dynasty. Moreover, drawings on the ceiling of the mandapa tell stories of the former incarnations of Lord Buddha (Jataka), with titles written in the Sukhothai alphabet for each picture. Some of these pictures were drawn in the style of Sri Lankan art.


The talking Buddha image (Phra Achana)


Buddha of Wat Si Chum, time taken before the restoration, photos taken at the beginning of that reign of King Rama 5.


Stone engraving at Wat Si Chum


The painting shows the main lines on the slate walls adorned Buddha of Wat Si Chum.





Wat Si Chum, Sukhothai Province Click to see in large