LAMPANG – The producers of a reality television series in Thailand have formally apologized for filming a scene on top of a mountain in Lampang province where Lord Buddha is said to have left a footprint thousands of years ago.
The controversy erupted when Thailand's Got Talent, an entertainment show based on its British franchise, aired the first episode of the show’s fifth season on 7 June. In the opening segment, the show’s host – famous Thai comedian Kathsepsawad Palkawong na Ayutthaya – is seen standing and planting a flag on top of the mountain near Wat Chalerm Phrakiat Phrachomklao temple in the northern province of Lampang.
Many viewers were offended to see Kathsepsawad standing on a sacred site where some Thai Buddhists believe Buddha left a massive footprint during a visit to Lampang. Although historians say it’s extremely unlikely that Buddha, who is said to have lived between 480 – 400 BCE, ever left the Indian subcontinent while he was alive, Thai Buddhists believe he visited Thailand numerous times and left footprints around the country.