Wat Umong Then Chan Temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Umong Then Chan (Umong Then Chan Temple) is the historical temple which King Kue Na commanded for construction as a shelter for Phra Maha Then Chan, the expert in Tripitaka. The temple is also referred to as Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham, which is the given name from Panyanantha Phikkhu, the abbot of the temple during 1949 – 1966 (2492-2509 B.E.); the name covers the twenty-four-hectare temple complex including Wat Phai Sip-et Ko or Wat Welukattharam and other 4 temples in the vicinity.

As a part of kingship’s customs, all reigning kings are expected to express their interest in politics and religions through establishment of palaces, cities, and the royal temple of the reign. According to historical evidences, King Mangrai the Great, the founder of Mangrai Dynasty established Lanna Kingdom, together with support from his friends – King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of Sukhothai and King Ngam Mueang of Phayao – by moving the city to Wiang Lek (Wat Chiang Man in the present day) and renaming it as ‘Mueang Nopphaburi Si Nakhon Phing Chiang Mai’. King Mangrai contributed a lot to the prosperity of Buddhism in the region by his strong supports, which include orders to build many temples, for example, Wat Phai Sip-et Ko, which is not just a residence to the first mission from Sri Lanka, but also a memorial to Buddhism propagation in Lanna Kingdom. The temple is designed by Phra Maha Katsapa at the king’s request.

The bell-shape pagoda is an art with high influence from Sri Lanka, with a smaller size comparing to the pagoda in the main area of Wat Umong Then Chan itself. It was said that the missionary from Sri Lanka received praises and respect from both the royal family and citizen, with their understandings in Dharma, expression and teaching of Dharma, and strict practice of Dharma. Other examples for the temples built at the same time are Wat Chiang Man and Wat Kao Than.

Categories: Asia, Travel

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