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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Chiang Rai - Places to Visit [Wat Phra Kaew]

Wat Phra Kaew, Chiang Rai
Location - Intersection of Sang Kaew Road and Trairat Road, Chiang Rai
[north-west side of the city, next to Wat Doi Ngam Muang, 300 meters west of Wat Phra Singh]
Can get there by tuk-tuk or samlor, rent a bicycle or drive
Opens from 7.00am to 6.00pm
Admission is free
Chiang Rai has some really beautiful temples. Some of them are very old and have interesting histories. Each temple is different and has a charm of its own. 
The Wat Phra Kaew is a Royal Temple in Chiang Rai and one of the oldest in the city. Although the exact year the Wat was founded is not known, it goes back at least to the end of the 14th century.

The Wat Phra Kaew is an important temple in Thai history, as it was here where the Emerald Buddha was discovered in the year 1434 after lightning struck the chedi where it was kept. The Emerald Buddha or Phra Kaew Morakot is the most highly revered Buddha image in the country, that is now enshrined in the Wat Phra Kaew temple on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
According to the Ratna Phimwong Chronicle the Emerald Buddha sculptured around 234 B.C by gods as a gift to Venerable Nagusen Thera Thera of Patalputra [now Patna, Bihar State India].
Later the image was moved to Sri Lanka. King Anurudha of Pagan [Myanmar] requested the Tripitaka and Emerald Buddha from Sri Lanka.
On the return voyage the boat carrying the Emerald Buddha was swept ashore in Cambodia.
The newly arrived treasures came into the hands of Cambodia. Subsequently the image was moved to Indrapatha [Angkor], Sri Ayudhaya, Lopburi and Khampaeng Phet.

In 1390 A.D King Mahabhrom of Chiang Rai took the image from Khampaeng Phet and hid it behind stucco inside the pagoda of Wat Pa Yiah, Chiang Rai.
It remained hidden until 1434 when a bolt of lightning struck the pagoda revealing its sacred treasure.
There after the Emerald Buddha has moved from place to place as follows.
Chiang Rai for 45 years from 1391-1436
Lampang for 32 years from 1436-1468
Chiang Mai for 85 years from 1468 -1553
Laos for 225 years from 1553 -1778
Bangkok from 1778 until the present day
The Emerald Buddha is the palladium of Thai society. Located in the grounds of the Grand Palace and enshrined in the Royal Chapel of Wat Phra Kaew the Emerald Buddha watches over the Thai nation.
Today, the Wat Phra Kaew temple in Chiang Rai holds a copy of the original Phra Kaew Morakot image. The copy that is very close to the original was made in honor of the 90th birthday of HRH Princess Srinagarindra, the Princess Mother. This replica also named Phra Kaew Morakot carved from jade in China was installed in the temple’s ubosot in 1991. It is a little smaller than the original, which is about 45 centimeters tall.

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