Wat Phra Singh Buddhist Temple In The Old City Of Chiang Mai, Thailand
Wat Phra Singh Temple
Of all the temples in Chiang Mai, Wat Phra Singh is one of the biggest, as well as one of the most historically significant. The temple of Wat Phra Singh is the former home of the Emerald Buddha, one of the most prestigious religious artifacts in Southeast Asia, which is now located at the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The Emerald Buddha was moved from Wat Phra Singh to nearby Wat Chedi Luang, and then later made it's way to the former capital city of Laos (Luang Prabaang), before finding it's way to it's current resting place in Thailand's capital of Bangkok. The Phra Singh Temple was built in 1345 by King Pha Yu, for the purpose of housing the ashes of his father (King Kham Fu). Over the years the temple has suffered from neglect and been in a state of near ruins, before being restored roughly a century ago. Today it is one of the most popular of all the temples in Chiang Mai's old city, making it a major tourist destination.
Wat Phra Singh is located near the center of Chiang Mai's old city, on Thanon Ratchadamnoen near Pratu Suan Dok. The temple grounds are enormous, taking up an entire city block, with several buildings including a monastery housing over 700 monks. The largest building is the assembly hall (Viharn Luang), in 1925 it was rebuilt on the site of the original 14th century assembly hall, and over the past few years it has been renovated extensively. There is also another smaller assembly hall, that was part of the original construction of 1345, known as "The Gilded Hall" (Viharn Lai Kham). Another building in classic Lanna architecture is the temple library that houses precious Buddhist manuscripts.
Chiang Mai's Old City
Chiang Mai is Thailand's second largest city, and it is historically significant as the former capital of the the Thai Kingdom, during the period of Lanna, when Chiang Mai was home to the Emerald Buddha. The old city is restored to resemble the appearance of it's original state almost one thousand years ago, when the first temples of Chiang Mai were first constructed. The old city is surrounded by a canal and a city wall that is shaped like a square, originally designed to keep out would be invaders. There are several ancient temples of historical significance located inside the old city, and one of the main attractions for tourists is the walking tour, visiting each temple one by one, spending the day walking from temple to temple. Wat Phra Singh tops the list as far as important temples in Chiang Mai's old city.
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