Photo. Talat Noi Studio.
A Phraprang and Prachedis.
But this is not the principal cave, for through a masonry archway we may penetrate further, passing on the left a colossal reclining Buddha dim in deep shadow so that his gigantic proportions are scarce realised, and beyond is a sitting Buddha and beyond again three prachedi, weathered or painted or fungussed to wondrous shades of eau de nil and blush pink and stone blue, forming with the gold of the Buddhas a most delicately beautiful colour scheme. Buddhas are all around at the foot of the cavea s sides, wThich again are green and white, and there is a large central image. The pigeons, semi-sacred here, nest in the crevices of the rock, and coo and clap their disturbing wings at sudden intervals. For the rest, there is deep silence here inside the earth.
We leave these caves by a path between columns of limestone, stalactites and stalagmites forming, and pass, part way up, a curious collection of votive figures of persons who, dying, sought this shrine and died. Returning some 400 yards along the flat on the road there is a turn off to the left, and a path through high posts topped by wooden garudas in a stout fence. This leads to the sala or resting place at the foot of another part of the hill which holds priestsa cells in the stone and little wooden huts for them. Close by,
above the large lotus pond, a path leads at once to a cave with a great reclining Buddha. Scattered over the hill, but fairly close together, are several more caves, should the traveller care to seek them out, and the whole hill is a haunt of Buddhist priests who here learn the lessons of the faith. The caves described can easily be seen and the station reached again in two hours.
To the west from the station lie across the rice fields the twin hills that bear Petchaburia s palace and. its hill shrine. The town lies at their feet on the flat, and its direction from the station is marked by the great and ruinous phraprang in the distance. It is best to go from the station to the foot of the twin hills direct by a broad earth road, brick-embanked, through the padi fields, leaving the town on the left to be seen after we have descended from the hills. Crossing the flat we look up to the starry-pointing two prachedis and one phraprang on the south, and on the north to the observatory and castle. Up a broad brick path with low white walls, stone lanterns at the turns, we pass the barracks, the stables, and the columned theatre w^ith its royal box as far as the two fat water jars and thence up steps to the pratinang or palace. This is not
Cave at Pete haburi.