Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao :most important temple in the city of Lampang

On the right bank of the Wang River is an old building which consists of an impressive chedi on a rectangular base with a round spire, topped with gilded bronze tiles. Nearby is a Burmese-style chapel featuring a multi - tiered roof. The chapel probably dates from the late eighteenth century. Beautiful colors and elaborate harmony make Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao a prime example of Thai architecture.

Perhaps the most important temple in the city of
Lampang is Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao, the temple of the Emerald Buddha. The temple was home for 32 years in the fifteenth century to Thailand's national symbol, the Emerald Buddha, now housed in its own temple inside Bangkok's Grand Palace.

The temple, and in fact the city of
Lampang itself, is said to have been founded by the son of Lamphun's founder, Queen Chama Devi, in the seventh century. The 50 meter (165 foot) chedi is the only structure that survives of the original temple. In front of the chedi is a Burmese styled open prayer hall built in 1909 by Burmese immigrants at the request of a Thai prince.

In the fringe of trees behind the chedi is a statue of an elephant with a small sort of pavilion on its back. The statue commemorates an event in the legend of the Emerald Buddha image. The image was discovered early in the fifteenth century when lightening cracked open the chedi in Chiang Rai's
Wat Phra Kaeo. After its discovery, the King of Chiang Mai sent some troops with an elephant to bring the image to Chiang Mai. But, as the story goes, the elephant refused to take the road to Chiang Mai and ended up in Lampang instead.

Emerald Buddha was allowed to reside at the temple for 32 years before it was finally 'convinced' to be taken to Chiang Mai, where it resided in Wat Chedi Luang.

Elsewhere in the compound is a rather decrepit museum of Lanna culture. Some china and woodcarving is on display.

source: www.thaiabc.com

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