Sacred Rocks & Buddhist Caves in Thailand by Christophe Munier
This is the first comprehensive study in English on a fascinating but little-known aspect of Thai Buddhism and culture. Rocks and caves are major places of pilgrimage in Thailand and this book places these natural holy sites in their historical, cultural and religious context. Rocks are sacred because of their shapes, the Buddhas carved on them or their links to the Buddha's coming. Animist activities involving rocks started in prehistoric times and continue to this day. The earliest rocks integrated into a religious context belong to the beginning of the Dvaravati period (6th-8th centuries) that saw the birth and spread of Theravada Buddhism in what is today Thailand. Caves have also been used as ritual places since prehistoric times and were inhabited by hermits and Buddhist monks during the Dvaravati, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Bangkok periods. They are adorned with mural paintings, stucco reliefs and statues. The book is lavishly illustrated with 300 plates, maps, and plans and provides practical information on how to reach these rocks and caves which are often in remote locations.
illus. partly in colour