Archive for June, 2017

Wat Mahawan

Wat Mahawan

Constructed in the mid to later 19th century, this Wat has two styles of buildings.  There is a viharn and ubosot built in the Lanna style and then there is a brick viharn and chedi built using Burmese style, plus there is a Ho Trai.

The Lanna style viharn is the main viharn, with its imposing multi-tiered roof, was built in 1865.  The ends of the bargeboards have Naga serpents.  At the roofs top are chofah, a decorative thin bird, or Garuda.  At the stairs to the viharn entrance are 2 white Chinthe guarding the hall.  Lanna style wooden panels on the front gable are adorned with detailed carvings of deities and flower motifs in gold on a red background.  Large gold lacquered red columns support the roof and to the back of the viharn on a pedestal is the main Buddha image seated in the subduing Mara posture which is surrounded by several smaller Buddha images.

The Lanna style ubosot is next to the viharn.  There is an access gate adorned with detailed stuccoed decorations of mythical beings and Lanna flower motifs.

It is fitted with a 2 tiered roof, Nagas adorn the ends of the carved white bargeboards, and the gable is carved with golden flower motifs while the door contains golden flower motifs on a red background.

The Burmese style viharn is a brick building constructed at the end of the 19th century and houses a large seated Burmese style Buddha image.

Behind the Lanna style viharn is an attractive Burmese chedi ornamented with detailed stucco work.  This chedi is enclosed by a low wall with large guardian Chinthe in its corners.  At the center of each side there is a niche with a standing Buddha image flanked by celestial beings.  The top of the viharn has spiral and very ornate Pathein Htee (Burmese style umbrella).

The Ho Trai is a teak building with a multi-tiered roof.  Originally the scripture hall, it has been turned into a residence.

To get to Wat Mahawan, from The Phae Gate of the old walled town center, go east for 300 meters.  It is opposite Wat Cheatawan.


Wat Pa Pao

Wat Pa Pao

Built in 1883, Wat Pa Pao is not like most of the Lanna style temples in Chiang Mai.  Located just outside of the old city walls, this is a Shan Burmese style temple.  During the 19th century many Shan Burmese migrated to Chiang Mai to work in the teak logging industry.  They built Wat Pa Pao as their own place of warship.

A wall surrounds the courtyard which contains a large chedi, a viharn and an assembly hall.  Next to the courtyard is a more recent Shan style viharn and another smaller building.

By the way, the name Wat Pa Pao translates to grove of Pao trees temple.

A current brick building, adorned with stuccoed ornaments has replaced the original 19th century wooden viharn.  It is topped with an elegant 5 tiered Pyatthat roof decorated with colorful motifs and topped with a golden ceremonial umbrella.  There are 3 large Buddha images inside, however it is usually closed to the public.

Next to the viharn you’ll see a large bell shaped chedi which is adorned with small mythical creatures.  At each of it corners is a large Qilin, resembling a lion with a dragons head, it is a mythical creature associated with good luck.  The chedi is set on several square tiers and a single octagonal tier.  The bell is topped with a golden spire and multi tiered Pathein Htee or Burmese style umbrella.  Bodies of Qilin and stairways on each side lead to niches which enshrine Buddha images.

Within walking distance, the Wat is located just north of the Northeast corner of the old walled city.