Photo: Beautiful Wat Chiang Man.

Wat Chiang Man

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Located inside the moat in the northeast corner of the Old City, this is probably the oldest surviving Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai. Thought to have been built in 1296 during the reign of King Mengrai, Wat Chiang Man served as a temporary home to the ruler while his new city of Chiang Mai was under construction.

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The main hall boasts classical Lanna features, including huge, ornately decorated teak columns supporting a multi-tiered roof. Although it contains an impressive seated gold Buddha image, the true stars of this wat are two glass-enclosed Buddha statues. These are stored inside the smaller viharn (worshipping hall) to the right. The larger of the two, Phra Sila, or Stone Buddha, is a gold-painted bas relief thought to have been imported from Sri Lanka some 2,500 years ago. The smaller counterpart, Phra Sae Tang Kamani, or Crystal Buddha, stands at just 10 centimetres and is said to originate from Lopburi around 1,800 years ago.

Wat Chiang Man is a very pretty temple. Photo taken in or around Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Wat Chiang Man is a very pretty temple. Photo: Mark Ord

The Crystal Buddha image has a very interesting history. The quartz image is said to have been originally carved for a king of Lopburi, though a variation has it being offered to the King of Lawa, an early northern Thai kingdom. It then somehow ended up in the possession of the legendary Mon Queen, Jamadevi, who installed it in her capital of Haripunchai, the former name for Lamphun.

Consequently, when Mengrai arrived during the 13th century to conquer the Mon kingdom of Haripunchai, he had the image removed to his own new capital, Chiang Mai. The statue remained there for 11 generations before being spirited off to Ayutthaya by a shady monk. When the king of Lanna found out the statue had been moved, he encircled the city with his army until the recalcitrant Siamese agreed to ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Wat Chiang Man
Ratchaphakhinai Rd, Chiang Mai
Daily 09:00-17:00
Admission: Free

Location map for Wat Chiang Man

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Mai.
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 Read up on where to eat on Chiang Mai.
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