The Department of Religious Affairs (DRA) is working towards securing UNESCO recognition for the revered monk Kru Ba Sri Wichai to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth.
DRA Director-General Chaiyapon Suk-iam disclosed that the government has tasked his department with gathering information about Kru Ba Sri Wichai’s contributions to religious institutes in northern Thailand.
During his recent visits to Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces, Chaiyapon took part in discussions about this initiative with concerned parties, academics, and the monastic council in the North. While Kru Ba Sri Wichai’s significant contributions centered on temple renovations in the northern region, UNESCO stipulates that nominated individuals’ efforts should have a positive impact on international communities.
According to Chaiyapon, further research will be conducted to identify Kru Ba Sri Wichai’s international contributions, with the proposal to be submitted to UNESCO in 2026 – ahead of the 150th anniversary of his birth in 2028.
Kru Ba Sri Wichai, born in 1878 in Ban Pang, a village in Lamphun’s Li district, entered the monkhood at the age of 21. He was renowned for his austere lifestyle, which included strict vegetarianism, abstinence from smoking and drinking, and solitary forest prayer sessions. Additionally, he led local villagers in the renovation of old temples and pagodas in northern Thailand.