Monday, April 30, 2007

Ramakien Mural Paintings : Wat phra kaew

In the gallery surrounding the ubosoth and other building, there are mural paintings which depict the story of the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Indian Ramayana.

Ramakien or Ramayana is very popular in Thailand and other Southeast Asian Nations. Many forms of Thai Art are inspired by the Ramakien and the admiration for it can be found in other areas of Thai life too. The name of the former capital city of Ayutthaya is a deravation from Ayodhaya, the capital city of King Rama. In the present we use the word “Rama” in English for titles of the Kings in the present Chakri Dynasty. And now we are under King Rama IX. The paintings consist of 178 sections. The first picture is located just opposite the Viharn Yod, and they proceed in a clockwise direction.

This is a poem describing the story in each section, inscribed on marble slabs. These paintings were first done in the reign of King Rama I but they have been restored many times.

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The Emerald Buddha in Wat phra kaew

The Emerald Buddha is wearing his summer season costume

The Emerald Buddha is wearing his rainy season costume

The Emerald Buddha is wearing his winter season costume

Emerald Buddha is carved from a large piece of green jade. Its size is 48.3 centimeters wide at the knees and 66 centimeters high. The image is in a seated position in the attitude of meditation. Judging from its style, it was made in northern Thailand, not much earlier than the 15th century, and belongs to the late Chiang Saen School. King Rama I had the Emerald Buddha transferred from Thonburi, the from capital of Thailand, to the present site in 1784. He placed it high on a golden throne made of gilt carved wood. The image has three costumes, one for each season—one for summer, one for winter, and one for the rainy season, all made of gold and jewelry. The ceremony of changing the costumes of the Emerald Buddha takes place three times a year, with the King performing the ceremony.

related link : Brief history of emerald buddha

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Thai Painting : Mural painting

Classical Thai painting was confined to temple and palace interiors and book illustrations. Mural painting was developed to a high degree in the belief that walls should enhance the beauty of the religious and royal objects they surrounded.

Traditional Thai painting was typically Asian in that conventional perspective was ignored and figures were large or small depending on their importance. Shadows were unknown and space was neutral rather than atmospheric.Figures were two dimensional and landscapes were merely sketchilytreated
backdrops for detailed action. A technique of pictorial composition called “apportioning areas” was employed, comparable to the “bird’ s eye view”of Western painting.

By this method, the positions
of the key scenes were assigned first and then closed off with “space transformers” that effectivelyisolated them from considerations of perspective by doing away with any surrounding intermediate ormiddle ground.

The traditional Thai painter had five primary pigments, the close equivalent of scarlet lake,yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, pipe clay-white, and pot-black. With these he was able to produce many other colours. All were tempera colours, finely ground powders that were stirred into bowls containing a glue binder, using sticks to work it to the desired strength and consistency. With these colours the traditional artists created uniquely beautiful compositions in the form of temple murals, cloth banners, and manuscript illustrations.

The earliest surviving murals are characterized by earth colours made from natural pigments. They depicted excerpts from the Jataka stories, episodes from the Buddha’s life, scenes of Buddhist heaven and hell, rows of gods, and scenes of contemporary Thai life. The murals in Bangkok’s Wat Suthat and Thonburi’s Wat Suwannaram are particularly fine examples.

The traditional painting technique continued into the Bangkok period, when colours became richer thanks to pigments imported from China. Around the middle of the 19th century, artists began using chemical pigments and Western perspective. Spatial values were eschewed for atmospheric affects and opulent gold leaf and bold primary colours radically altered the delicate harmony of the
old subdued earth colours.

Noted Thai painters of today are sometimes recognized and awarded the status of “National Artist.” Among those who have achieved this distinction are Fua Hariphitak, Chalerm Nakeeraksa, Sanit Dispandha, and Tawee Nanthakwang.

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Wat Aranyik : Phitsanulok

Wat Aranyik is located near Wat Saphan Hin in the Aranyik area dwellings places for monks (kuti), caves, and the bases of ubosot and viharn line the pathway to the sanctuary.

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Wat Chulamani : Phitsanulok

The Prang, a corncob-shaped tower at Wat Chulamani is well-known and studied by students of archaeology and history. The Wat is the oldest historical site in Phitsanulok. Of a highly individual style and pattern, it boasts extremely ornate and elaborate plaster design of immense interest and value found nowhere else in the Kingdom .

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wat Ratchaburana : Phitsanulok

This monastery is located on the eastern bank of the Nan River, near Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat to the south. This monasteries, assumed to be built when Phitsanulok City was ruled by somdet Phraboromtrai Lokkanat, have linking compounds. The bot of Wat Ratchaburana shares a special fine form of the 3-head nagas decorated on their eaves.

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Phra Nakhon Khiri : Phetchaburi

Phra Nakhon Khiri Palace or the Holy City Hill was the first palace built on the mountain range by King Rama IV in 1859 for the King himself and for the royal guests.

It is studded with Wats and various components of the palace such as Wat Mahasamanaram locates on the hill-step, Wat Phra Kaeo which is the temple of the palace locates on the hill-top. The middle peak enshrines Phra that Chom Phet and the eastern peak is a vicinity of the compound. The architectural style of the palace is mixed between European, Chinese and Thai.

photo: moohin

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Phra Samut Chedi : Samut Prakarn

The Chedi in the river is a major monument and a revered place of worship.
It is widely visited by a great number of people.
Generally know as "the Chedi in the middle of the river"
, it was formerly situated on an island in the river and surrounded by water.
Later, the river bed on the right side grew shallower and a large expanse of
land emergedand adjoined with the island on which the Chedi was situated.
Therefore at present, there is no island there.

Phra Samut Chedi, popularly known as Phra Chedi klang Nam
(chedi in the middle of the river) for its original Location on the island
in the chow pha ya river. Now, sits on the river bank in font of
the provincial hall.
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Wat Poramai-yikawat : Nonthaburi

This temple, Mon style, was built about 200 years ago. In 1873 King Rama V visited the temple and ordered the renovation and later on reconstruction of the main temple.

This old monastery located in the vicinity of Tambon
Ko Kret, Amphoe Pak Kret is constructed in Mon style architecture. The main attractions are a large reclining Buddha, mural paintings, a Mon style marble carved pagoda, the museum and the principal image in the Ubosot. There is a village, on Ko Kret (Kret Island), where the villagers produce ancient Mon style pottery called "Kwan Arman". It is accessible by a ferry from Wat Sanam Nua which is located not far from the Amphoe Pak Kret office.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu : Mae Hong Sorn

located on a hill to the west of town, is a major provincial landmark. There are two Burmese-style Chedis (pagodas). The larger one was built in 1860 while the smaller one was erected in 1874. A panoramic view of Mae Hong Son can be enjoyed from the site.

This is a Burmese-style temple which dominates the provincial capital. Constructed by Phraya Singhanatracha, the first King of Mae Hong Son, the hilltop temple affords a wonderful view of the capital and surrounding mountains and valleys.

photo: bangkoksite

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Wat Phrathat Chae Haeng : Nan

Wat Phrathat Chae haeng is an ancient religious site of Nan Province. It is over 600 years old, and located on Doi Phuphiang Chae Haeng, Tambon Muang Tued, about 2 kms from Nan City (Highway No.1168 Nan-Mae Charim).

It features a 55 m.high golden chedi containing a Holy Relic from Sukhothai. Over the Viharn's door frames and on parts of the roofs are plaster designs in the shape of Naga, the great serpent, which represent the artistic best in local architecture. The annual worshipping fair takes place on the full moon day of the fourth lunar month (during the end of Februaryand the beginning of March). The fair includes the celebration of fire works processions and offering processions.

The annual worshipping fair takes placeon the full moon day of the fourth lunar month (during the end of Februaryand the beginning of March). The fair includes the celebration of fire worksprocessions and offering processions.

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Wat Phumin : Nan Unseen Thailand

A uniquely designed and the most interesting temple in Nan is Wat Phumin, which has a 4 - portico single building housing both the Bot and Viharn. Four Buddha images with their backs against one another are installed in the main hall facing the four directions. The doors are delicately carved in splendid by Lanna craftsmen. Wat Phumin underwent a major restoration in 1867 since it was build some 270 years ago. It is believed that the wall murals were commissioned during this time.

The wall paintings, in Thai Lue style, are considered highly valuable and depict legends concerning the Lord Buddha, as well as local legends and the local way of life, which include native attires, weaving and commerce with foreign countries.

source: moohin

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Wat Yai Chai Mongkol : Ayutthaya

Wat Yai Chai Mongkol is situated to the southeast and opposite to Ayutthaya city. A large Chedi of this Wat can be seen from a far distance. This monastery was built by King U-Thong in 1357 A.D. for the use of the monks who had returned from Ceylon after studying under Phra Vanarat Maha Thera.
People come to play respect and many tourists are seen here especially during weekends.


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Wat Maheyong : Ayutthaya

Wat Maheyong is one of the significant temple in the group of monuments located out side the capital island to the east. It was built in early Ayutthaya period in the reign of King Sam Phraya, in 1438.

This monastery was built in the reign of King Borom Rachatirat (Chao Samphraya) in 1438 in Ceylonese architectural style: a principal pagoda in the bell shape on the foundation surrounded by elephant statues, and the cloisters are also bell shaped. It was firstly restored in the reign of King Tye-sa in 1709 and during the restoration he had a pavilion built outside the wall in order to control the construction. It took more than 3 years to finish it and had a great cerebration for 7 days.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007


Wat Khao Angkhan
is on an extinct volcano 20 kilometres from Phanom Rung. If travelling from Ban Ta Pek (between Ban Tako and Phanom Rung), use the road to Lahan Sai for 5 kilometres and onto a branch road to the temple for 10 kilometres. Wat Khao Angkhan represents an interesting mixture of architecture from various periods. Inside the main building are wall murals and stories of Buddhism told in English. Furthermore, many Dvaravati sandstone temple boundary markers have been discovered here.

Wat Khao Angkhan
is one of the nice sandstone ruin's Khmer style at the extinct volcano in Buri Ram. The attraction place is the ancient sandstone temple boundary markers dating back to the Dvaravati period. Wat Khao Angkhan is one of the largest monasteries of architecture in various eras.


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Wat Jong Klang and Wat Jong Kham : Mae Hong Sorn

Wat Jong Klang

The wat was added later in the 19th century by Shans living in the area. Inside there is a collection of Burmese carved wooden dolls - tukata, depicting characters from the Jataka tales (stories of Buddha's previous life episode). There are also beautiful glass paintings, depicting aspects of Buddhism and simple local activities.

This temple is situated in the same compound as Wat Jong Klang. At the northern edge of the complex there is a colonial style building housing a large seated Buddha. The two temples are situated in front of the pond Nong Chong Kham, which acts as a public park and is a great resting place.

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Wat Pho Prathab Chang : Phichit

Located in Tambon Pho Prathap Chang, 27 kms. from Phichit town on Phichit-Wang Chit-Pho Prathap Chang route, wat Pho Prathap Chang ia an ancient monastery built in 1701 in Ayutthaya period. The monastery was once used by King Narai the Great as a campsite for his troops in a northern trip. It is also the place where King Sua or King Sanphet VIII was born.

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Prasat Hin Phimai : Nakhon Ratchasima

The Phimai Historical Park Dotted about Thailand’s great northeastern plateau are numerous temples of varying sizes; most of these structures are believed to be about a thousand years old.

These building-built of brick, stone, or combinations of the two material-are of two types: those built by persons of Brahmanic culture, these have three to five-storied bases surmounted by prominent spires; those constructed by Buddhist patronages, have a low base an their spires are not so tall. The most spectacular of them all is at Phimai, 60 kms. Northeast of Nakhon Ratchasima.

Prasat Hin Phimai which is the charmingly amusing largest sandstone sanctuary in Thailand almost situated in the center of Phimai Ancient city which carries a rectangular shape of 665 meters wide and 1,030 meters long. Nowadays, the Sanctuary looks magnificiently restored and renovated.

The ruins of the facinating ancient Khmer architecture has been preserved as the National Historical Park. The monument itself is surrounded with two red sandstone walls; the external wall and the gallery. These are punetuated by gatetowers (Gopuras) at four cardinal points, North, South, East and West.

The main entrance is decorated with Naga balustrade which faces to the south where there are ancient routes cut from Angkor. The main white sandstone Prang has its place in the middle, towers of 28 meters in height, and flanked by two minor buildings, of the left was built in laterite called "Prang Bhramadhat" and on the right was built in sandstone

called "Prang Hin Daeng". Evidences of the main sanctuary reveal that all the external lintels including pediments involve Hinduism, such as the carvings of Ramayana Story, Figures of Hindu Gods like Shiva and Vishnu whereas the internal lintels involve typically masterful religious art of Mahayana Buddhism.

Though, it can be concluded that Phimai Sanctuary way built for the worship of both Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism: one of the internal lintels represents Trilokayavichaya Buddhism who standing on Hindo Gods, Shiva and his wife, seems to mean that Buddhism becomes more significant than Hinduism.

Two stone inscriptions encountered, the first mentions the name of King suriyavoraman I (1002-1050) while the second at the door frame of the Southen gallery describing the name of King Dharanidharavoraman I (1107-1113).

These inscriptions of different periods also coinsides with the characteristics of the artifacts found inside the main prang, therefore, the well-restored ruins of Phimai Sanctuary may have been built in between late 11th mid 12th centuries. The Phimai Historical Park opens everday from 7.30-18.00 hrs. Admission fee is 20 Baht per person.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wat Phra That Hariphunchai : Lamphun

Wat Phrathat Hariphunchai
was built in the reign of King Athittayarat of the Raman dynasty in 897. Later on in 1433 during the reign of King Tilokraj, the King of Chiang Mai, it was repaired and renewed ; five new pagodas in the Srilanka style were built and added. The pagodas enshrine the ashes of the Lord Buddha. Religious ceremonies of the province are performed here.

The Phrathat Hariphunchai Pagoda has a nine-tiered umbrella made of gold weighing about 6500 grams. The square-shaped base of the 46-meter-high gold-topped chedi in the center of the courtyard is the oldest structure in the temple. Ten centuries younger world. The sala was restored in 1915 after it was damaged by fire.

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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.


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Wat Chedi Sao :LAMPANG

Wat Jedde Sao is the temple with 20 white pagodas where the gold buddha : sansae was erected. This temple is only 6 kms. from town on Lamplan-Chaehom road.

A short distance from Lampang, set amid farms and rice fields, is Wat Chedi Sao. The name literally means "the Temple of Twenty Chedis" and one look at the 20 stupas in the temple courtyard makes it easy to understand the orgin of the name.

The origin of the temple itself is less clear. A legend recounted at the temple says that two monks from India came to the area about 2,000 years ago to spread the teachings of Buddha. A local prince was much impressed and asked each of the monks for ten hairs. He then built the temple, placing one hair in each chedi.

Some time later, two brothers dug two wells to honor the two monks. Both wells filled with clear water, and can still be seen in the grounds of the temple today.

Statues of mythical gods and creatures are dotted around the chedis, including beasts from both Chinese and Hindu legends. There are also Buddha images in many different styles, including the rare 'emaciated' Buddha shown at right.

Behind the chedis is a small two storey museum. The upper floor displays artefacts recovered in and around the temple. The lower floor contains many things donated to the temple for monk's use over the years, and includes old fashioned bicycles, 16mm movies, old phonograph records and, gathering dust in the back, an old Macintosh Plus computer.

Behind the temple's main hall is a smaller richly decorated wiharn that contains a much revered Buddha image. The fifteenth century cast image was discovered by a farmer in his rice field in 1983 and is said to contain the skull of the Lord Buddha in its head.

Wat Sri-Ron-Muang

Wat Sri-Rong-muang, Wat-Pa Fang, Wat Chai Mong Kon and Wat Mon San Tan are all Burmese-Style temples. Take special note their beautifully carved, tiered roofs.

Wang Kaew Waterfall One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand is only 130 kms. from town. Here water cascades down 110 tiers from the top of the mountain. Near the summit live a hilltribe people known as the "Yao"- one of largest minority groups in Thailand.

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This temple lies 18 kms. south of Lampang and is one of the North's finest. To the left of the chedi
is a Vihara with a carved wood facade and double - level roofs. Harmonious proportions and exquisite interior decoration make Wat Lampang Luang one of the best examples of Northern - style religious architecture.

The temple buildings seen today were built in the fifteenth century, and one of the reasons for the temple's popularity is the relatively pure state of all the temple buildings. Unlike most of the temples in Chiang Mai, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang hasn't been 'improved' to conform to modern Thai ideas about temples. The courtyard is still filled with sand, and the huge main wiharn (prayer hall) is still open on all sides.

To enter the temple, you must pass a pair of guardian lions and climb the naga stairway up to the massive main gate. The main prayer hall, the Wiharn Luang, stands close inside the main entrance. The wiharn is open on all four sides, forming a huge covered hall. Sturdy columns support the roof. The columns are finished in black lacquer and stenciled with gold leaf designs.
At the back of the Wiharn Luang sits a massive gilded ku, a sort of Laotian prang sheltering the main Buddha image. The Buddha image is the Phra Chao Lang Thong, cast in 1563. On either side of the Ku are throne-like pulpits, sometimes used by monks but more often used to house other Buddha images on important ceremonial days.

Behind the main prayer hall stands the 45 meter tall chedi. The chedi was faced with copper and bronze sheets, which over the centuries have oxidized into a variety of green and blue shades. The chedi has somehow escaped the gilding which is now universally applied to chedis, even if they weren't originally built that way.

Flanking the chedi on the south side is another prayer hall, the Wiharn Phra Phut, a small chapel built in 1802 with a beautifully carved fascade. Behind the Wiharn Phar Phut is a tiny tower-like structure, the Ho Phra Phuttabat. It houses a Buddha footprint sculpture. The building is generally only open on important festival dates, and may never be entered by women.
On the other side of the chedi and the main wiharn are two other small open chapels. Although very weathered, both have some rather interesting details and murals.

A doorway on the south side of the gallery leads you to several other buildings, as well as the temple's museum. On the way, you'll pass an ancient bodhi tree whose branches are supported by a forest of crutches.

The two museums are not very interesting, even though one houses the Phra Kaeo Don Tao, a supposed 'copy' of the Emerald Buddha and made at the same time. But it lack most of the subtlety of the Emerald Budda, and the setting doesn't do it justice. For a close-up look at the Emerald Buddha, you're better advised to visit Wat Phra Kaeo in Chiang Rai, where they have a recently made copy in a beautiful setting. However, there is a beautiful 400 year old scripture library in amongst the museums that is worth a look.

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Lanna Temple Buildings

The Ubosot and Viharn are the most ornate and important buildings in a temple compound. On the outside they are decorated with stucco motifs which are covered with lacquer, glass mosaic and gilt.
An Ubosot, or consecrated ceremonial hall, is generally small for its religious functions involve only monks. The ubosot stands in consecrated ground marked by eight boundary stones. Ubosot are often locked and women are generally not allowed to enter.

The viharn is a larger assembly hall where lay people and monks participate in ceremonies. It is usually located to the east of the chedi with the front entrance facing east, the auspicious direction of the sunrise.

Though many viharn in the north are characteristically Lanna in style, details in the architectural styles have been influenced by Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin (Bangkok) styles. Taller walls in the viharn, for example, show a distinct influence of the central (Siamese) Thai. Both the ubosot and the viharn will contain the temple's most important Buddha images. During ceremonies cotton strings may be attached to these to spread the power and blessings of the image amongst devotees. Because of the value of these images and other artifacts, many viharn are kept locked except on Buddhist holy days - wan phra (monks may unlock a viharn if politely requested to do so).

The viharn is often decorated with elaborate murals, which are usually bright and of recent origin. Scenes from the Jataka, the previous lives of the Buddha, may adorn the side walls.

The wall above the front entrance traditionally shows the unsuccessful attack by the demons of Mara, the God of Illusion who attempts to dissuade the Buddha from achieving enlightenment.

Many temples contain a small scripture repository raised up on a pedestal or stilts for protection. Known as ho trai, they are used to keep religious scripts inscribed on palm leaves. These scripts recorded Buddhist texts as well as the chronicles, which are a main source of early Thai history. One of the best examples of a ho trai is at Wat Phra Singh.
Other buildings include kuti, the monks' living quarters, general purpose halls known as sala, and a bell tower which announces ritual times to monks.

Temples used to provide the only education and to this day compounds often contain schools. From ancient times the temple grounds have served as a public place for festivals and fairs. The entrances to compounds of important temples in the past would sometimes have heavily decorated entrance gates. Wat Suan Dok is the best example in Chiang Mai.

Funeral rites are held in special halls, or at the home of the deceased. Cremations are carried out at special grounds away from the temples.


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The Lanna Temple :Chedi

The Chedi

Lanna Temples originally were built round the chedi (stupas), which contain valuable relics of pious kings and monks. Like solid rocks in a sea of change, the old chedis mark the sites of former temples and are almost the only temple structures that go back to the 13th-15th centuries.

Perhaps their continued existence in some unlikely places in the city is no accident. In Brahmanic-Buddhist cosmology, the chedi "stabilizes the earth", fixing a point where heaven and earth meet. They may be likened to the rising sun at dawn, both separating and joining the earth and sky after the darkness of night. Symbolizing the dhamma, they chase away the darkness of ignorance and chaos.

Though many chedi in Chiang Mai have been damaged by thieves who sought the precious relics contained inside, citizens have repaired and protected them. They are worshipped as sacred symbols representing the cosmic body of the Buddha and the law of the dhamma. Their shape differs, however, due to the particular symbolism of the dhamma chosen by the builders.

Chedis in Chiang Mai have two basic forms; the stepped or prasat style, and the bell style. However, from these basic forms many variations in size and shape have appeared, reflecting the wealth of the city over the centuries.

An early example of the prasat style is the Mahapol Chedi at Wat Chamadevi in Lamphun. Later fine examples are those of Wat Pansat near Chang Phuak bus station and Wat Lok Moli west of Chang Phuak gate.

The chedi of Wat U-Mong Suan Putha-tham and the later chedi of Wat Phrathat Haripunchai have the bell shaped style. More recent examples are the Shan Burmese style chedis built in the late 19th century. These may be seen at the temples on Thapae Road. Other variations include the octagonal form, which may best be seen at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep and Wat Duang Di, and the round form best seen at Wat Phuak Hong. Both designs may have evolved here, or may have come with monks or traders from Ayutthaya (the octagonal form) and Lake Erhai in Yunnan (the round form).

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The Lanna Temple

Chiang Mai Temples are the cultural and historical heart of the city. The most famous have been places of pilgrimage for northern people for centuries. As traditional centers of merit making, they are the best places to see Buddhist ceremonies. Funded by noble and wealthy benefactors over a long period, they have also become the repositories of some of the finest examples of religious art. If you had but half a day in the city, then it is to one or two of these temples that you should go.

The Lanna Temple

Thai temples have long served as the center of the community. While this traditional role has diminished as young people have had less time for religious observances, the temples still lie at the heart of the ritual and social life of much of society.

Though earlier temples were the most durable constructions of the day, the wooden roofs and older earth filled walls have not survived the destructive forces of nature and man. Therefore most of the temple buildings seen today do not go back much before the 19th century.

Only the stupas (which shall be referred to as chedi) and some walls and sculptured images which were built of laterite or brick covered with stucco have survived for longer periods.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Muang Tam Sanctuary : Buriram

Muang Tam Sanctuary

was built during 9th to the 10th Century. It is at Ban Khok Muang which lies at the foot of a mountain 8 km. away from Phanom Rung. The road to the sanctuary is entirely paved with asphalt. Muang Tam Sanctuary is a brick structure with 5 pagodas surrounded by laterite ponds. At the corner of each pond is a sandstone five-headed Naga that stretches around the four directions of the pond, these are plain headed Nagas. The sandstone lintel and doorway are beautifully carved. The compound is encircled by a crooked terrace and a laterite wall. Historically, there is no evidence as to who build this sanctuary, the lintel shows a Hindu deity
characterizing Khmer Baphuan style of the 11th c. (1017-1087), it might be argued that the temple was built for Hindu community. Muang Tam Sanctuary opens everyday from 06.00-18.00 hrs. Admission fee is 30 baht per person.


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Wat Phra Phutthabat : Saraburi

Phra Phutthabat Shrine
Located at Tambon Khunkhlon, Amphoe Phra Phutthabat, 28 kilometres from Saraburi City. There is an entrance to the left before you reach Amphoe Phra Phutthabat. The distance to the temple is one kilometre. The most important aspect of this temple is the Holy Buddha FootPhot Hill of Satchaphanthakhiri Hill. The feature of the Footprint is similar to that of a human being, measuring 21 inches wide, 5 feet long and 11 inches deep. The Footprint was discovered in the reingn of King Songtham (1624- 1628) who faithfully believed that this must have been the Lord Buddha's Footprint because its featres The King then hak a mondop constructed to enshrine the Holy Buddha Footprint. Other buildings were added later periods.

The mondop is a square-shaped building decorated with a seven-storey top roofing with green ceramic tiles. Each storey is decorated with a niche. There are square-form pillars with indented corners. Each pillar is gilded and structed with glass. The exterior walls of the mondop are qilded and decorated wiht pieces of glass in the shape of celestial beings ans lotus buds. The door panels are in land with mothe-of pearl with exquisie designs. This workmanship belongs to the royal artists in the rign of King Bormmakot ot Ayutthaya. The steps ascending the mondop
consist of three paths. Each is decorated with a Naga figure starting with its five heads at the
foot of the path and its body lying along the rail to the mondop.

These five heads of each Naga were cast in bronze. The Naga paths are Known as Silver, Gold and crystal, symbolizing the three descending paths from heaven. Around the mondop there are many bells hanging in rows for visitors to ring. It is believed that ringing the beels would help mankind to gain more merit. The ubosot and the wihan around the mondop were constructed in the Ayutthaya and the early Rattanakosin period style of architecture.

In addition, in the temple compound there is a museum with collections of valuable art objects e.g. Ding Songtham's outfits, porcelain, Sangkhalok ware, ancient bronzeware, ancient weapons, model of the holy Buddha footprint, old roof top of
Phra phutthabat Mondop, monk ranking fans from different periods and water supply pipes in the reign of King Narai the Great. Each year at he Buddha Footprint Shrine visitors, both thais and foreigners, come to worship the Footprint particulary during the "Festival of the3rd waxing moon the 1st day of the 3rd waxing moon (February) and between the 8th day of the 4 the waxing moon to the 1st day of the 4th waxing moon (March)". In addition this temple is a place where the famous festival of offering flowers to monks is annnually The Rain Retreat Day. This traditional event is observed only at Wat Phra Phuttabat in Saraburi and Wat Bowonniswetwihan in Bangkok.

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