One of my favourite festivals in Thailand for taking pictures is Tak Bat Dok Mai Festival at Wat Phra Phutthabat Ratchaworamaha Wihan in Saraburi Province. This always takes places at the start of the Buddhist Lent. I wasn’t able to make it this year as I was covering the same event at a more remote temple. However, these are some of my never before seen pictures I took a few years back. This temple is famous for the Mondop at the top of a hill which houses a large Buddha’s footprint. Quite often, when I travel north on Highway 1, I stop here to pay respects. There is a slightly scaled down replica of this mondop at the Ancient City in Samut Prakan. It is just as beautiful both on the outside and inside.
In most temples at this time of year, lay people go to their local temples to give food and other basic essentials to the monks. However, this temple is quite unique in that the followers make merit by giving flowers to the monks. And not only a handful of monks. There were literally hundreds of monks as you can see from the above photo. The flower is called Dok Khao Phansa and only blooms during this time of the year. The monks approach the temple gates on both sides of the street. Lay people are waiting to present them with flowers. The monks then climb the steep steps to the top of the hill. Then, after paying respects to the footprint, they descend the other side where even more followers are waiting. This time the lay people wash the feet of the novices and monks as they walk down the steps. This is a lovely festival and I will try and make an effort to go again next year.