Attraction Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand Published on: 08-06-2016
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Why Wat Chiang Man is special ?
Wat Chiang Man, begun in 1306, is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai. It enshrines the Crystal Buddha, one of the greatest treasures in Thailand, and other important Buddha images. When King Mengrai decided to build a new city and make it the new capital of the Lanna Kingdom, he build the Wat Chiang Man as the first temple of the new city on the site he used to supervise the construction of Chiang Mai. The temple holds several very old and important Buddha images. According to a stone inscription near the door of the bot, Chiang Man was restored in 1471, 1558, 1571, and 1581.
What to explore at Wat Chiang Man?
Located in the heart of Chiang Mai, Wat Chiang Man consists of two modest-sized meditation halls (wihaan) and an interesting gold-topped chedi along with the usual other temple buildings.
The larger viharn has a beautiful golden facade. Inside is the oldest dated Buddha image in Chiang Mai: a standing Buddha holding a begging bowl, inscribed with the year 1465.
The smaller viharn, fronted with another fine facade and supported inside by massive teakwood pillars, contains two small but precious Buddha images in the throne of the main altar: the Crystal Buddha (Phra Sae Tang Khamani) and the Marble Buddha (Phra Sila Buddha).
Dating probably from the 14th century, the Crystal Buddha belonged to Queen Chamathewi of Lamphun, wife of King Mengrai. Said to have survived the king's burning of Haripunchai (of which the queen was the ruler), it is revered for its power to protect against disaster. The images are accessible on an irregular schedule, but usually only on Sundays.
The Phra Sila Buddha dates from the 8th century and probably comes from Ceylon. Depicting the Buddha overcoming the elephant Nalagiri, the statue is believed to have the power to bring rain. It the focus of a festival at the temple on April 1 each year.
Built in the 15th century and restored in the 19th, the Chedi Chang Lom (Stupa Surrounded by Elephants) is a unique combination of grey stone and glimmering gold. The bottom part is made of stone and is decorated with Sinhalese-style elephants.
How to get to Wat Chiang Man?
The Wat Chiang Man is located in the North East corner of the old walled part of Chiang Mai, between Phra Pok Klao 13 road and Ratchaphakhinai 1 road. Entering the old walled part of the city through the Chang Puak gate in the North wall, take a left turn to Ratchaphakhinai 1 road. The temple is then on the right side after about 200 meters.
- Beautifully renovated temple in Chiang Mai
- Beautiful architecture and the gardens
- Fabulous wat, huge and very ornate
- Peaceful lovely gardens around it
- Very serene atmosphere, a good hour
Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Tips for you
This was a stop on the tour we took. It was different from the others (Doi Suthep and Wat Umong) in a good way. This was an exquisite site to see. If you enjoy architecture this will blow you away. Make sure you see all the different places here, inside and out. The main temple was over the top with decorations and ornateness. Deep reds and gold accentuate everything. The details on the outside of the buildings were breathtaking when the sun hits them. Immaculately kept and well fed dogs abound. Very nice stop on our sunrise food tour.
Large temple in the center of Chiang Mai - worthwhile visiting if you're in the area, otherwise it's a relatively standard Wat and easily skippable if you've visited others.