Wat Phra Singh Temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Phra Singh Woramahaviharn is an important temple in the history of the Kingdom of Lanna. It is a first-class royal temple of the Woramahaviharn type. It is located near the city moat on Samlan Road, Tambon Phra Singh, Amphoe Mueng, Chiang Mai Province. Nowadays, it is one of the main temples in the province where Phra Singh or Phra Buddha Sihing is housed. The Buddha is a work of ancient Chiang Saen art in Abhayamudra-Dhyanasana posture. The bronze statue, all covered in gold, is 79 cm tall and 63 cm wide. It was created in the 3rd century and was known as ‘Chiang Saem Singh I’. Since then, Phra Buddha Singh has become the sacred patron Buddha of the city of Chiang Mai and the Kingdom of Lanna.

As history goes, Phaya Phayu, King of Chiang Mai of the Mengrai Dynasty, ordered Wat Phra Singh Woraviharn to be built in 1345 and had Phra Buddha Sihing carried to the temple from the former Continent of Lanka. When King Borommaracha I of Ayuddhaya conquered Sukothai, he had the Buddha carried to Ayuddhaya before it was moved to Kamphaeng Phet and Chiang Rai. When Phaya Saenmuengma of Chiang Mai defeated Chiang Rai, he then had the Buddha carried back to Chiang Mai together with the Emerald Buddha. In 1662, Somdet Phra Narai Maharat conquered Chiang Mai so he ordered the Buddha to be housed at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet in Ayuddhaya for as long as 105 years.

In 1767, as Ayuddhaya was defeated by Burma, the people of Chiang Mai had Phra Buddha Sihing carried back to Chiang Mai. When the northeastern provinces were reunited to Siam in the reign of King Phraphutthayotfa Chulalok the Great, the Buddha, for the last time, was ordered to be brought to Bangkok in 1795 by Somdet Phra Bawornrajchao Maha Sura Singhanat. Now Phra Buddha Sihing is located at Putthaisawan Throne Hall, Bovorn Sathan Mongkol Palace, while the Buddha in Wat Phra Singh is a replica of the original.

In Wat Phra Singh area, Wiharn Laikham is where Phra Buddha Singh is located. The murals of the building tell the story of Suvarnna Hongse and the story of Sungthong which can be founded only at this temple. In addition, there are more remarkable artworks such as the ubosot decorated with Lanna art, Ho Tri, which is adorned with angel cement statues, and other round-shaped Lanna chedis.

As traditionally believed, the Phrathatluang, or the main chedi, of Wat Phra Singh is the patron chedi of the year of dragon. It would be an auspicious occasion for all to come and pay respect at the chedi for at least once, so he or she will be blessed a long and prosperous life. During Songkran festival, townspeople will carry Phra Buddha Sihing on the main roads of Chiang Mai so everyone can sprinkle water on the Buddha for a blessing.

Categories: Asia, Travel

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