Wat Phra Singh is an ancient temple that has endured in Chiang Rai for a long period of time. It was highly venerated by local people, the same way as Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai usually respected by Chiang Mai people. ‘Phra Singh’ is the name of the widely revered Buddha image “Phra Putta Sihing” in ‘Marn Vichai posture’, exquisitely sculpted in Lanna style. In early times, around 1381, Chao Phrom, the ruler of Chiang Rai invited the genuine Buddha image of Phra Putta Sihing to be an archetype of the replicated one. Then, the new Buddha statue was enshrined here at this temple. At present, Wat Phra Singh has been appointed as the third-grade royal monastery (common class).
Apart from the famous Buddha sculpture, the temple also possesses outstandingly interesting architecture. The Ubosot , well-conserved, was decorated in Lanna style, and entirely built with wood. The highlight that visitors shouldn’t miss is the gigantic inscribed Ubosot gate, depicting the Dharma puzzles. Instead of the 4 classical elements, 4 kinds of animals are shown to represent each element; the elephant for ‘earth’, the Naga for ‘water’, the Garuda for ‘air’, and the lion for ‘fire’. These imprints were designed by thawan duchanee, and done by Sala Amnuay Bua Ngam, a specialized artist. In the west side, behind the Ubosot stands an ancient elegant chedi , which was beautifully painted in bright gold. The temple also houses the artificially-made Buddha footprint on stone. It was assumed to be made during the reign of King Mengrai. On the stone, there are inscribed Khmer letters “kusala dhamma akusala dhamma abyakata dhamma”. Wat Phra Singh has a shady and cool atmosphere.
There are 2 important Buddhism-related trees;
- Bodhi Tree brought from Puttakaya, India, and
- Cannon Ball Tree (or Sala Lanka) brought from Sri Lanka.
The temple is open everyday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How to get there:
Wat Phra Singh is located near the City Hall. Take the same route to Wat Phra Kaew. When reaching King Mengrai intersection, turn left and go straight, you will see Wat Phra Singh next to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (Northern Region).