Khao Khitchakut National Park in southeast Thailand is the site of an annual prayer festival. In February and March, around the Makha Bucha holiday, thousands of pilgrims make the trek to the top of 1,085-meter Khao Probad, where several rock formations are reminiscent of Buddhist legends.
The Makha Bucha PIlgrimage to Khao Khitchakut
Makha Bucha Day falls on the full moon of the third lunar month, marking the day when 1,250 monks gathered to hear Buddha preach. These monks went on to help disseminate the teachings of Buddhism. In Thailand, the day is celebrated with candlelit processions and merit making such as giving alms to monks.
Busloads of the faithful converge on Khao Khitchakut around the holiday to see sights such as a distinctive boulder perched on the mountaintop that looks like a monk’s alms bowl tipped on its side. A sacred Buddha footprint replica, rock formations that resemble a turtle and an elephant, a pagoda and a hermit cave also draw pilgrims. Those who can show their devotion by making an arduous hike to the top of the peak, wielding incense, flowers and candles.
Awesome Natural Vistas and Waterfalls
In addition to the religious sites, pilgrims are rewarded by fine views of nearby mountain ranges, Chantaburi town and the Gulf of Thailand. Visitors are also drawn to the park’s beautiful waterfalls. Krathing Waterfall plunges through 13 pools on its way to the mountain’s foot, while Khlong Chang Se drops dramatically from a high cliff and remains running throughout the dry season. A campground and nature trail allow visitors to get closer to the park’s wonders.
Khao Khitchakut park is just 59 square kilometers, making it one of the smallest national parks in Thailand, but is part of a larger chain of protected lands and wildlife sanctuaries. The park is home to elephants, bears, barking deer, gaurs, sambars and serows and many types of birds.
The park is about 30 km northeast of Chantaburi.
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