Following the event of the Dhammachai Dhutanga (Pilgrimage) on the Path of the Great Master, during a 24-day span from January 2nd- 25th 2012 and covering six provinces in the Central region of Thailand including Pathumtani, Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya, Nakhonpathom, Suphanburi, and Bangkok; the Dhammakaya Foundation had applied to the Guinness World Records for the ‘Longest Journey Walking on Flower Petals’. The representative of the Dhammakaya Foundation who contacted the Guinness World Records and assisted with the application process was Mr. Srijug Chaovanich, CEO of Cerebrum Design, Ltd., Thailand.
The Dhammakaya Foundation submitted an application containing details of supporting evidence that includes a 300-page written statement, photographs of the daily activities on the pilgrimage, video footages, GPS data, along with other documentations that adhered to the Guinness World Records guidelines. This application package was delivered to the Registered Office of the Guinness World Records in London, England on February 11th 2012.
After a thorough verification of the evidence, the Guinness World Records Committee made the decision to recognize the Dhammakaya Foundation (Thailand) as the world record holder for the ‘Longest Journey Walking on Flower Petals,’ completing a distance of 265.82 miles (427.8 km) by 1,127 Buddhist monks, during January 2nd-25th 2012, to welcome the year 2012 in Thailand. The Dhammakaya Foundation received the official certificate from the Guinness World Records on April 26th 2012 (the verification process took about three months).
The total distance for the 21 actual walking days was recorded and registered by the Guinness World Records at 427.8 km, which is different from the previous distance of 381 km that had been broadcasted on DMC. The discrepancy is due to the fact that the recorded distance of 381 km only measures the length that the dhutanga monks were actually walking on rose-petal-paved roads. This length is obtained by utilizing a GPS tracking system placed in the vehicle leading the procession of dhutanga monks. The initial distance for each day is designated and recorded at the point where the dhutanga monks start their walk on the flower petals and the end distance is recorded when the monks reach the entrance of the final destination for that afternoon or evening.
To better understand how the distance is obtained, let’s take a look at a breakdown of the inaugural day of the pilgrimage. On the first day, the journey began when the dhutanga monks exited the North Exit of the Memorial Hall of Phramongkolthepmuni (Sodh Candasaro), headed east along the Pond of Prosperity towards the front gate of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and made a left onto Khlong Luang Road in the direction of the University of Pathumtani. So, with the previous 381 km distance, the starting distance is recorded when the dhutanga monks step onto Khlong Luang Road. Whereas, with the Guinness World Records’ method, the initial distance for the same day is recorded the moment the dhutanga monks exit the Memorial Hall of Phramongkolthepmuni, and the end distance is recorded only when the dhutanga monks have reached the final resting point inside the University of Pathumtani. With the previous distance of 381 km, the entrance to the University of Pathumtani marked the end distance for that day. Thus, the two methods employed to determine the total walking distance for the pilgrimage differed and had a discrepancy of 46.8 kilometers (obtained by subtracting 381 km from 427.8 km). Furthermore, when 46.8 km is divided by the 21 total walking days, we arrive at an average daily discrepancy of 2.23 km, which can be attributed to the distance the dhutanga monks walked to reach the inside of the final destination for each day. Therefore, an additional distance of 46.8 km was added by the Guinness World Records to the previous distance of 381 km to give a more precise and final cumulative distance of 427.8 km.