Buddha: " Whenever you see things, just see. Whenever you listen, just listen. Whenever you know, just know."
Wat Phra Singh or the Temple of Phra Buddha Sighing, Chiang Mai, Thailand
We visited Wat Phra Singh or the Temple of Phra Buddha Sighing, Chiang Mai in December 2007 and unfortunately the Viharn was under wraps and scaffolding for external remedial work but luckily this did not restrict access into the Temple or detract from the value of the visit.
The Wat Pra Singh Voramaha Vihara was formally known as Wat Lee Chiang. The Wat was elevated to the status of Royal Wat, First Class in 1941 A.D.
Wat Phra Singh or the Temple of Phra Buddha Sighing is situated at the intersection of Singharaj Road and Raj Damnoen Road almost dead centre in the old moated city of Chiang Mai. The temple records show it was started in 1345 A.D. by the order of the Mengrai Dynasty King Phayoo when he was the ruler of the Lanna Thai Kingdom. The temple currently houses the sacred Phra Buddha Sighing Buddha Image.
Wat Lee Chiang Pra or Phra was already here when the Buddha image (statue) called Pra Buddhasihing, or ..singh, was being transported past in a juggernaut that broke down. Unable to continue its journey the Buddha image was 'moved in'.
Every year on April 13th, the traditional Thai New Year day called 'Songkran', the Buddha image is paraded through the streets of Chiang Mai. As the procession passes people sprinkle scented water over the image; in Thailand a traditional and 'auspicious' act. This signifies the start of the celebrated Water Festival when Chiang Mai folk bid "good wishes" to each other with showers of water.
The obviously beautiful Lai Kam or Laai Kham chapel, where the Phra Buddha Sighing image is enshrined, is an exquisite example of the classical Lanna style of architecture. The temple walls are adorned with murals depicting typical ancient folk scenes and customs from the north of Thailand showing fine details of the distinctive clothing styles of the area.
There is also another important Buddha image here, Phra Thong Tip. Buddha image Phra Thong Tip is supposed to be made from a rare metal called Orichalcum or Aurichalcum, known also as "Mountain Gold", thought to be a gold and copper alloy, the statue is a solid casting.
The Wat Phra Singh library or Phra Tripitaka, was restored last in 1926 painted in the traditional maroon colour on the upper woodwork with a brick lower floor coated in lime stucco. It is a wonderful little building of exact proportions, unfortunately not accessible to the public, due to its age and fragility, but a good example of early Lanna craftsmanship. The outer walls of the ground floor has been decorated with 16 beautiful angels and celestial beings above smaller representations of animals from the Himmapahn jungle, including the tiger, lion, elephant, fish, deer and mythical creatures like the Kilen, Norasigh and others.
The Wat Phra Singh chedi, behind the main viharn is one of the many in Thailand that devotees can pour holy water over. The mechanism is a simple tube container with pulley and trigger lever delivery system.
You will need at least an hour to see the whole of the extensive site.
Items annotated (TAT)
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