Tourists joined residents of Surin’s Muang district on Friday morning in distributing alms to monks riding elephants to mark Asanha Pucha Day and the beginning of Buddhist Lent.
Monks carried on 67 elephants received dried food and rice during the ceremony at the Monument of Phaya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Changwang.
Surin Governor Atthapol Singhawichai presided at the 7.30am start of the ceremony, which also celebrated the Northeast province’s fame as home to many elephants.
Asanha Pucha is one of Theravada Buddhism’s important occasions, celebrating the day on which the Lord Buddha gave his first sermon to five ascetics in the forest of Isipatanamarugadivan.
It was also the day the Buddha’s first disciple, Kondanna, entered the Sotapanna spiritual state on his path towards nirvana.
Buddhist Lent, which continues into mid-October, is the time of the monks’ traditional rain retreat, when they remain in one place to undergo intensive spiritual training.