Wat Phra Singh
Wat Phra Singh
|On the corner of Singharat and Ratchadamnoen Rd road|
Wat Phra Singh was built inside the old city walls at a time when Chiang Mai was the capital of the northern Thai Lanna or Lan Na kingdom.
The wat was originally built in 1345. It may have simply been a stupa erected by a king (and descendant of the great Mangrai) to honour his father. The stupa still stands, but most of the buildings you see on the site today are of much more recent vintage. Originally called Wat Li Chiang Phra, the name was changed to Wat Phra Singh when the Phra Singh Buddha image was first housed there in 1367. Phra Singh is a cast Buddha image of Chiang Sean Period
Wat Phra Singh is not an unusual name for a Thai temple: wat means Buddhist temple, phra is used to refer to a Buddha image or a monk, while singh is a mythical lion-like animal. The Chiang Mai Wat Phra Singh is probably the most famous of all the Wat Phra Singh temples in Thailand
There are three main buildings, namely the Stupa, Viharn Lai Kam, and Haw Trai.
Viharn Lai Kam
Viharn Lai Kam (The Gilded Assembly Hall) is a hall where the Phra Singh Buddha is housed. It is an attractive building of Thai Lanna Style, 24 metes wide and 56 meters long.
The teak temple is a beautiful example of Lanna or northern Thai architecture, with soaring "wings" on the ends of the eaves and lavish carved wood and stucco decoration throughout. The walls inside the temple are adorned with paintings depicting Lanna life in the 19th century. The mural paintings on the walls of Wat Phra Singh depict the scenes of Suwannahong and Sang Thong classic literature
This hall was built by the royal command of King Borom Ramadhibordi
in B.E. 2369 (AD 1726) but remained unfinished. Later it was completed
by the royal command of King Pharmakanka and restored by Phra Upalikunupamajarn
inB.E. 2469 (AD. 1953)
Phra Singh Buddha
A good deal of legend surrounds the possible origins of this image with local belief holding that it is some 1,500 years old and was originally brought to Thailand from Sri Lanka. This however would seem unlikely since the it is in the early Chiang Saen Style.
The Phra Singh Buddha has been a significant Buddha image of the Thai
lanna people for many years. On the day of the Songkran Festival , the
Phra Singh Buddha is espectfully mounted on the royal carriage , and
travels in a procession around the city of Chiang Mai, so that Chiang
Mai people can pay homage in a traditional manner to the image.
The Haw Trai (temple library) is another magnificent building which
contains Buddhist scriptures. It is located on the left of Viharn Lai
Kam . It is believed to have been built at the end of 15th century.
This building shows undeniable evidence of the very highly skilled craftsmanship
of this period. Worth noting especially are the stucco figures of Thai
celestial characters around the walls.
|For a great one day guided tour that includes a visit to Wat Phra Singh please see CM1) Chiang Mai Tours|