In the old city walls of Chiang Mai, there are several magnificent and ancient temples, with Wat Phra Singh being one of the most attractive.
Wat Phra Singh is one of the most important temples in Chiang Mai and one of the most attractive. At the end of Ratchadamnoen Road in Chiang Mai’s old town, Wat Phra Singh is an impressive site. With gilded roofs and chedis towering over the whitewashed walls enclosing the complex. Wat Phra Singh’s history dates back to the 14th century, but the temple has undergone several changes and renovations. Despite its ancient history and importance, Wat Phra Singh is a living and functioning temple and an essential part of the local community, with a monastery and school. Visitor will likely meet Students playing soccer and takraw, novices sweeping the paths, and ice cream vendors rolling their carts through the shady gardens.
HISTORY OF WAT PHRA SINGH
Wat Phra Singh was founded in 1345 by King Phayu, who built the temple to house his father’s ashes. It was a time when different kings ruled in other regions of what is now Thailand. From 1578 to 1774, the northern Lanna kingdom came under Burmese control, and Wat Phra Singh was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The temple was restored under King Kawila, who became ruler of Chiang Mai in 1782. The Chedis, with their successors, continue the restoration work on the Wiharn Lai Kham and the Temple Library.
The entire temple complex of Wat Phra Singh was extensively renovated in the 1920s. More recently, work was carried out in 2002, and the chedis, previously painted white, were refurbished in 2016 to give them a gold-colored shell.
The most prominent building is Viharn Luang, rebuilt in 1925 on the site of an original 14th-century building and restored in 2008. The three-nave interior is impressive. It has a high red ceiling supported by round white columns. Phra Chao Thong Tip: A large seated Buddha statue cast in gold and copper in 1477. A smaller room, the beautiful Viharn Lai Kham (also called the Golden Room), was built around 1345 and renovated in the early 19th century.
It is known as an excellent example of Lanna’s monastic architecture. Inside the building is Phra Singh (Lion Buddha), an original treasure from the 14th century except for the head which was stolen in 1922. The walls are covered with murals depicting Jataka stories. And other stories. The wall behind the Buddhas and the round pillars are decorated with red and gold patterns. The opulent decoration of these gables consists of abstract mandala patterns.
The structures of the Wat Phra Singh
There are some classic Lanna-style buildings on the temple grounds.
The oldest structure in the wat is the main chedi, built by King Pha Yu in 1345 to house his father’s ashes. The chedi is circular with a square base. Each side of the chedi is adorned with figures of elephants protruding from the chedi. Since it was built in the 14th century, it has expanded significantly.
Viharn Lai Kham
One of the best examples of Lanna-style architecture is the Viharn Lai Kham. This vihara, or assembly hall, was built in the late 14th century to house a highly revered Buddha image named Phra Singh Buddha.