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Friday, November 07, 2014

Chiangmai - Lamphun Part 2 [Wat Phrathat Haripunchai]

Located about 26 km south-east of Chiangmai, Lamphun is very easy to access and normally on list as the side trip itinerary for those visited the North either for the pilgrimage or leisure trip. There is a regular air-conditioned coach leaving on the opposite side of Warorot Market or locally known as Kad Luang in Chiang Mai. It takes approximately less than hour to arrive to the center area of Lamphun.
If you have time, spend the night out here to slowly absorb the ancient city atmosphere, if not, a one day trip is definitely worth adding to your itinerary. We went by rented motorbike from Chiangmai using Route 106.

Another famous Wat in Lamphun is Wat Phrathat Haripunchai.Located in the heart of the city close to Methi Wuttikorn School on Inthayongyot Road.
The temple opens daily from 7.00am to 6.00pm
Every year on the full moon of the 6th Lunar month (Visakha Bucha Day), there is a ceremony for worshippers to sprinkle water onto Phrathat Hariphunchai.

Inside the Wat Phrathat Hariphunchai area, there is a booth selling tram tickets for the city round-trip tour. Apart from visiting Phratat Haripunchai, you will also be able to visit other important temples and historical sites around the city. The tram operation time is 9.00am to 1.00pm but tourists should check the tram running schedule in advance. Sometimes it can be fully booked from reserved tour groups. There is no English-speaking guide, only a local speaking tram driver does the talking.
Wat Phra That Hariphunchai was built during the reign of King Arthitayarat, a descendant of Queen Chamthewi some 800 years ago. He had a strong faith in Buddhism and supported the religion by introducing Buddhist practice to his city. A principal landmark is the 46-metre tall golden Chedi whose present appearance was the result of the restoration work in 1443 by a king of Chiang Mai.
This temple has long been regarded as an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists especially for those who were born in the Year of the Rooster. The main chedi houses a hair, crown of a skull, chest and finger bones of Buddha.
Inside the main hall. Buddha statues in the back
 and some visitors are praying.
Originally, the top of chedi was built in a rectangular structure, but then during the reign of Phraya Mengrai, it was changed to a Lanka bell-shaped structure. The form seen today is the masterpiece of King Tilokkarat of Chiang Mai city. He combined the Burmese-Phukam style and the Lankan Bell-shaped architecture together and created a unique Lanna style. Later on, this special architecture was adopted as the principal model for other chedis throughout the Northern region under Lanna Kingdom. If you have been to Wat Pratat Doi Suthep in Chaing Mai, you will recognize the pattern.
Scenery around the chedi

This is a view from the direction of the entrance to the back side. On the right is the chedi, on the left is a hall, and a museum is in the back.
Originally it was a construction of 2 brick pillars which hung a large bronze moon-shaped bell weighing 729,000 tumlueng [1 tumlueng is equal to 60 grams] - 43740 kg.  The bell was cast in BE 2403 at Wat Phra Sing, Chiangmai as an offering to worship the Buddha relic in Phrathat Haripunchai Stupa in Lamphun.  Later the pillars were replaced by a 2 storey hall of Haripunchai architectural design.  The bell was hung on the first floor and on the second floor hung another bronze bell cast in the reign of Chao Daradirekratanapairoj who ruled the city of Lamphun during BE 2414-2433.
Ho Trai, which houses the sacred Tripitaka scriptures, is a large base two-story building located next to the moon shape bell tower. The ground floor of the building is made of bricks painted in red, while the top floor is made of woodwork with fine detailed carving. This Ho Trai resembles the inside of Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai. It is believed to be a popular model of the Lanna Kingdom.

Beautiful paintings in the front and side walls of the temple

Suwanna Chedi [Pathumwadi Chedi]
A legend was told that King Athitayarat and his royal consort Queen Patumwadi had built Wat Phrathat Haripunchai around 1607 BE. More detail was found in the Mullasasana script that they both demanded the tip of the principal chedi be decorated with gold and named it Suwanna Chedi [golden pagoda].  This golden chedi was made of bricks with a tripple-tier laterite base.  On the base stands the body with 5 stepped arched bays holding stuccowork of Haripunchai style Buddha images in the standing position dated around the 17th-18th centuries BE the peak of Haripunchai's golden age of trade, religion and arts.

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