A Diamond Eyed Buddha in Sukhothai
It’s always nice to discover something not in a guidebook or map (until now). A little place called Luang Pho Petch (Luang Po Ta Petch) is one of those places. It’s located just south of the impressive Wat Si Chum along the main road. The shrine/building/temple itself is hidden behind some trees on the corner of a courtyard with a few monks sitting around.
There’s a reason why everything is off the map and hidden well. Inside the “hidden” temple is a gold leaf statue of the Buddha which has eyes made from diamonds.
It’s not always easy to enter the chamber where the buddha statue with diamond eyes sits but bear with me as I’ll write down how you can visit it.
Luang Pho Petch & the Diamond Eyes Buddha History
There’s quite a lot lost in Thai / English translation when it comes to the Luang Pho Petch and diamond eyed Buddha statue. The term “luang pho phet” refers to a type of Buddha statue found in Thailand which depicts the Buddha in a diamond seated position.
There have been three known attempts at stealing the Diamond Eyed Buddha Statue of Sukhothai. Whether this is to steal the actual statue or the diamonds is unknown. However, given the value of diamonds over the bronze and gold leaf statue one must assume it’s the formers value.
It is unknown how old the temple at Luang Pho Petch is. However it’s clear the temple has been restored on several occasions due to the different brick work patterns. This may have been caused due to the break ins.
Today, inside Luang Pho Petch, the statue is protected by a couple of very narrow corridors. One would have to destroy the building in order to remove the statue which is in a chamber behind a heavy doorway.
There is one more crux in any thieves plans to steal the diamond eyes. In 1941 the original statue was removed and moved to Wat Si Chum’s ordination hall.
It’s now said the original statue is back inside Luang Pho Petch but the diamond eyes have been exchanged with glass ones for security purposes. One can only presume the original diamond eyes are locked away somewhere safe and off site.
The Diamond Eyed Buddha Statue
The Buddha statue itself sits in a diamond seated position. It measures 29 inches at its widest. The statue is bronze but painted in gold leaf. The statue is also not affixed to the pedestal on which it sits.
The eyes themselves hang slightly and are glass. Around the chamber are several other diamond or gem eyed Buddha statues.
The statue holds a lot of reverence and has been visited by Thai royalty on many an occasion.
How to get into Luang Pho Petch to see the Diamond Eyed Buddha statue
Find a monk with the keys! It’s that simple. Otherwise the doors to the Luang Pho Petch temple will be locked. If not, then the rear chamber door will most certainly be locked.
The monk, usually friendly but lacking in English, will open the doors and take you to the dark rear chamber where the Buddha with Diamond Eyes sits.
It’s a musty place with poor lighting. The monk may or may not (usually will) ask for a donation before you leave. Anything from 20 baht to 100 is given depending on your experience in Thailand.
Inside Luang Pho Petch
When you enter the temple you’ll immediately feel how narrow and small it all is. There are statues everywhere in the outer chamber in little alcoves and shelves surrounding a center column. It’s worth taking a look around this area as some of the statues are unique.
Someone has also shown a little artistic flare in decorating parts of this area which is nice. The red and white triangular alcoves are not something you would ordinarily see elsewhere in Thailand.
At the rear is a large locked door which the monk will open. Inside is a chamber filled with Buddha statues ranging from stone to jade and gold leaf. At the rear of the chamber up high sits the Statue of the Buddha with Diamond Eyes. You are free to photograph it.
Pay Homage to the Buddha at Wat Si Chum
There’s one last snippet to take from Luang Pho Petch. It’s said that that if you pay homage to Luang Pho Petch at Wat Si Chum then you will have security, undisturbed happiness, a trouble free life and successful career.
You can see more of Wat Si Chum here.
Luang Pho Petch Compound
After visiting the shrine you can walk around the compound at Luang Pho Petch. There’s not much other than some exterior Buddha statues but the place is somewhat unique in Sukhothai as monks are in residence here most of the time.
While the Buddha with Diamond Eyes might not be the highlight of Sukhothai, its history and the building in which it now resides is certainly noteworthy. Not only that but it’s relatively easy to find yet still off most of the maps and guidebooks.
That alone means it’s worth a quick visit on your way to/from Wat Si Chum!
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