Wat Phra That Lampang Luang – A Lanna Heritage Site
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang stands as an outstanding example of Lanna architecture in Thailand. It features viharns with open sides – typical for early Lanna architecture – while its front facade bears an intricate Thewada figure.
Ko Kah District lies roughly 20 kilometers southwest of Lampang town and can be easily accessed using either a private taxi or songthaew service.
The Viharn Phra Sao Sila
Viharn Phra Sao Sila, dating back to the second half of the 15th century and featuring three tiered roof with chofas featuring stylized serpents at its apexes as well as front facade decorated with Thewada figures, remains in good condition today despite its age.
At Chiang Mai Temple of Lanna you can witness its traditional architecture; quite distinct from modern temples designed to meet Western expectations for what a temple should resemble. Furthermore, this temple provides an opportunity to witness how old and grand Lanna architecture was at its height.
Within the viharn are beautiful murals depicting Jataka tales and various religious themes, making a visit well worth your while to admire their exquisite details. Take time to stroll around all parts of this temple complex in order to take in all its spectacular sights!
Back behind the main wiharn is a stunningly tall golden chedi (stupa) which is said to house part of Buddha’s hair relic.
On the temple grounds are also many gilded Buddha images. One stands in Dharmakaya position and is considered to be an icon with immense religious and cultural significance, being revered and seen as holy and sacred by many.
Temple grounds are extensive, boasting a forest-like feel. Additionally, they feature many buildings such as a museum and library containing antiques ranging from ancient manuscripts to silver betel-nut cases and Buddha figurines; with a library specializing in religion, history and art books.
To reach Wat Phra That Lampang Luang from downtown Lampang or from Th Boonyawat station you have several options for travel: walk or take a taxi ride; alternatively you may charter a blue eastbound sorng*taa*ou (passenger pick-up truck 20B); for a more comfortable journey you could consider hiring a songthaew, which provides larger seating capacity than regular pickup trucks.
If you’ve been to Thailand before, you will know that ubosots are rooms used for special ceremonies and monk ordination ceremonies; however, few know much about its structure beyond that. Ubosots resemble viharns in terms of interior features; one way they differ is their exterior: Ubosots are typically surrounded by eight boundary stones denoting sacred space as well as underground stone spheres called luuk nimits which mark cardinal points on compass maps.
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang was completed by Phra Khruba Siwichai, one of the temple’s prominent monks, in 1932 and features a spacious hall for housing all of its important Buddha statues and boasting an aesthetically pleasing facade. Additionally, its main chedi stands tall at 48 meters in bell shape – thought to contain part of Lord Buddha himself!
Within, you’ll discover Phra Chao Khao Tue, created from bronze in 1504. It represents various Thai artistic styles; for instance, its long fingers indicate it is of Sukhothai origin while its clothing displays influences from Ayutthaya.
Apart from its iconic Ubosot, this temple houses other notable structures. For instance, its viharn is one of the oldest halls housing Buddha images in Bangkok; in 2020 it received a brand new roof. King Mongkut made another significant donation – an exquisite wooden image depicting a tiger, elephant, and bird donated by him as part of a Dvarapala statue that stands outside.
Mondops Temple has an illustrious past. To read more, visit its official website here. Whether seeking merit-making opportunities or admiring its architecture, visiting Mondops is well worth your while – however remember as with any religious site, to dress modestly and behave in an appropriate manner when visiting. Furthermore, beware climbing any walls around Mondops as this would show disrespect towards its rulers of kingdom, in addition to breaking Thai law!
The temple complex lies 16 km southwest of Lampang town and draws many, primarily local visitors. Considered one of the country’s oldest and most revered Buddhist temples, Wihan Luang boasts several interesting religious structures, such as what some consider the most beautiful wooden Lanna temple – Wihan Luang. Additionally, its central viharn has early 19th century Jataka murals depicting stories from Buddha’s previous lives on its walls as well as an impressive mon*dop housing an image cast in 1563 gilded mon*dop which houses another large Buddha image cast back then!
Not much stands out at Wat Phra Kaeo in Chiang Rai beyond its main viharn; two museums provide little entertainment or satisfaction; in particular one of them houses an emerald Buddha copy which lacks subtlety and beauty of its original counterpart; it’s much better off visiting Wat Phra Kaeo instead for closer views of original artworks.
Viharn Nam Tam, built at the start of the 16th century and considered to be one of the oldest wooden temple buildings still standing in its original condition, stands out as an exceptional structure within the compound. With three tiered roof and intricate lai kham decorations stencilled onto each pillar, this open wooden structure contains its principal Buddha image in Bhumisparsha mudra surrounded by several standing images.
As it’s a popular stop on tour buses, the wat can quickly become congested throughout the day; for optimal viewing experience, try visiting it either early morning or late afternoon. A tip:
From Lampang Town center, you can reach Wat Ban Kha either on foot or via songthaew (shared taxi) which typically costs 150-200 baht each way. While no entrance fee applies at Wat Ban Kha, donations would be appreciated towards maintaining its maintenance – there’s a small box at its entrance where donations may be left; Ko Kha district of Lampang-Tai Phet Streets lies nearby allowing easy access.
Ban Sao Nak
Ban Sao Nak is an intriguing wooden house that gives visitors a peek into life during earlier decades. A heritage site, Ban Sao Nak offers visitors an opportunity to witness an intriguing architectural style which incorporates Thai and Burmese elements into its design, and has quickly become one of the top tourist spots in Lampang due to its stunning appearance – featuring over 100 foot-tall wooden pillars each telling its own unique tale!
The pillars are intricately decorated with symbols from both Buddhist and Lawa cultures. According to legend, Lord Buddha once passed through this area and was welcomed by its native Lawa people with an offering of honey that he later gave as a present; these pillars may represent part of this gesture of good will.
Baan Sao Nak is an 1895 teak house known for its 116 teak posts that dates back to Lanna architecture with verandahs that reflect Burmese design. Since 1895, generations of the Chantharawirot family have worked tirelessly to maintain its integrity; during major repairs conducted between 1966-1969 to ensure its structural integrity that took 10 years to complete. Beginning in 1977 when Prince Crown Prince and Princess Maha Chakri visited it for tours and lunch, this teak house finally started receiving the recognition it deserved; even the Crown Prince visited for tours and lunch as well as Princess Maha Chakri in 1979!
Temple covers an expansive area, providing plenty of nooks to relax and take in scenic views of lush landscapes. Popular with both tourists and locals alike, certain times of day may become very busy with visitors – for optimal experiences we advise visiting during morning or late afternoon when crowds are less prevalent.
Are you eager to experience this spectacular heritage site? Why not book one of Asia Tours’ Thailand Local Life tours and witness first-hand all that makes this country truly stunning and endearing.