Wat Tonkwen Temple, Chiang Mai

Wat Tonkwen or Wat Inthrawat of Chiang Mai is located on Thanon Sai Khlong Chonlaphrathan. Coming from Ton Phayom Market, the way to this temple passes by Royal Park Rajapruek. Wat Tonkwen is a small temple with an old but unique, neatly carved wooden main hall (Wihan). The building has plaster-based structure and distinct big wooden columns. The interior is decorated with hand-weaved bamboo mat and simply classic carved wood in contrast with the outer structure. Surrounding the main hall are a multipurpose hall and sand-ground open space. Here, there is a coffee plum tree or Ma-kwen on the right of the entrance nearby the temple’s wall with underneath recreation area, incents, candles and flowers for worship. Despite the size as compared to many famous main halls of other places, its splendour of Lanna architecture can make up for that. The tympanum in typical Lanna Ma-Tangmai form; the trace of stained glass decoration; the flora-pattern, cross-beam adornment called Kong Khio; and Bairaka, the roof edge decoration in mythical snake naka shape are perfect exemplars of Chiang Mai’s fine arts. Furthermore, a Buddha image on a beautiful glass base is also displayed inside the building for villagers and visitors to admire.

Another highlight spot in this temple is the one and only four-gabled pavilion of Thailand’s northern region. These features make the temple a great model of refined Lanna arts, and thus, ‘the Excellently Conserved Building’ in 1989, awarded by the Association of Siamese Architect under Royal Patronage. The beauty of the past reflecting through these buildings becomes a great inspiration for architects, the model for Royal Pavilion Ho Khamluang – the core building of Royal Park Rajapruek – and the majestic sensation of Lanna in many television series.

Categories: Asia, Travel

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