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Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan วัดพระสิงห์วรมหาวิหาร , Chiangmai

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Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiWat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang Mai (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh (GPS: 18.78854, 98.98123, Thai: วัดพระสิงห์วรมหาวิหาร ), or Monastery of the Lion Buddha, is one of the major temples within the Old City quarters of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is located at the western end of Rachadamnoen Road. Known simply as Wat Phra Singh, this monastery contains two of the finest extant Lanna buildings in the whole of Thailand. Also housed here are some exquisite mural paintings.

Wat Phra Singh was started in 1345 when King Pha Yu, the 7th king of the Mangrai dynasty, built a chedi to enshrine the ashes of his father King Kham Fu. Two years later, a viharn (assembly hall) and other buildings were added. At that time, the monastery was known as Li Chiang Phra. It was renamed Wat Phra Singh in 1367, when the Phra Sihing Buddha image was installed there.

Wat Phra Singh fell into disrepair in the 18th Century, coinciding with a time when the city of Chiang Mai itself was weakened by repeated attacks by the Burmese. It was only repair when Chiang Mai was reoccupied by Chao Kawila. Chao Kawila's successor, Chao Thammalangka decorated the interior walls of the Viharn Lai Kham with murals that are today famous as among the most exquisite examples of Lanna art.

In the 1920's, Wat Phra Singh underwent another round of extensive renovation under the monk Khru Bu Srivichai, who added the large modern viharn that today dominates the entrance from the east. This new viharn replaces the original viharn which was built between 1385 and 1400. However, the new viharn has little architectural value. It houses a large seated Buddha facing east. At the rear of the building, perhaps of greater historic interest, is a bronze Buddha given by two monks to Chao Kawila for his own use.

Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiEntrance of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiRoundabout in front of the Viharn Luang of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiViharn Lai Kham (left), the stupa (centre) and the ubosot of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiView of the stupa (left), the ubosot (centre) and Viharn Luang (right) of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiView of novice monks at recess, from the ubosot of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiNovice monks at recess at Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Viharn Luang

Viharn Luang is the principal viharn of Wat Phra Singh. Built in 1925 to replace an earlier viharn, it is huge, but quite plain. There is a big seated Buddha statue inside.

Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiViharn Luang, Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiInterior of the Viharn Luang, Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiView of the ceiling of Viharn Luang, Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiGable of Viharn Luang, Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiMain Buddha image, with smaller images at its front, in Viharn Luang (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiMural on the leaf of the door of Viharn Luang (24 October, 2006)

Ho Trai, also called Hall of Phra Tripitaka

The ho trai or scripture repository or Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan is said to be one of the most exquisite examples of Lanna architecture. It was built in 1497, under King Tilokaraj, and was restored in 1867 under Chao Kawiroros Suriyawong, and again in 1926, during the visit of King Rama VII.The ho trai is is wooden structure on a brick base, with a staircase flanked by naga-makara leading up to it. The whitewashed base of the ho trai has windows, with reliefs of thewada, or male angels, in the between. These stand above a frieze that is intricately ornamented. On the structure's ridgepole are swan finials.

The Ho Trai is built to store the Dhamma, the Buddhist holy manuscripts and palm-leaf scriptures.

Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiView of the ho trai or scripture repository of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiHo Trai of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)

Viharn Lai Kham

This is regarded as one of the finest buildings in the Wat Phra Singh complex. It was built in 1345 and renovated in the early 19th century. The generously gilded building - lai kham means "patterned in gold" - is covered by a two-tier roof, a third tier of the roof shelters the portico.

Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiThe front of Viharn Lai Kham. (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiThe portico of Viharn Lai Kham. (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiThe interior of Viharn Lai Kham with the Phra Sihing Buddha. (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiMurals covering the walls of Viharn Lai Kham were painted in the second half of the 19th century, and is regarded as among the finest examples of Lanna mural art. (24 October, 2006)

Ubosot

The ubosot or ordination hall for the monks, is located between the chedi and Viharn Luang. It was built in 1806. There are porticos on the north and south ends of the building. The south portico is particularly ornate, with gilded stucco pilasters.

Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiThe ubosot of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, with the chedi behind it (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiEntrance to the ubosot from its south portico has an ornate gilded stucco pilasters, with a naga-makara arch draped over a dharmachakra, or Wheel of the Law (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiInterior of the ubosot. (24 October, 2006)

Chedi

The Chedi of Wat Phra Singh dates back to 1345, and has been renovated and enlarged many times. The bell of the chedi sits on a plain square base, protruding out of which, on each side, is the forefront of an elephant sculpture. At the time of my visit, this was whitewashed, but it has since been entirely gilded. The chedi has three diminishing circular plinths, and ends in an umbrella spire.

Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiChedi of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiThe Chedi of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiOne of the minor stupas around the main Chedi of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan (24 October, 2006)

Wat Phra Singh on Google Street View

Wat Phra Singh (Mar 2018)

Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan, Chiang MaiMy wife (then girlfriend) Chooi Yoke and I in front of the ubosot of Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihan. (24 October, 2006)

Wat Phra Singh is on the map of Chiang Mai

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