Wat Chiang Man
Wat Chiang Mai is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai dating back to 1296 when the city was first founded.
There are 5 basic structures in the Wat. The chedi is a mixture of Lanna style and Singhalese styles. As is true with most Wats, this chedi is the oldest structure and is named Chang Lom Chedi or Elephant Chedi sitting on a square base supporting a second level of grey stone surrounded by 15 elephants. The gilded upper part of the chedi houses a relic. There are 2 viharns, the larger one has an impressive three tiered roof with a Lanna style front decorated with wood carvings. Renovated in the 1920’s, the viharn has a standing Buddha image holding an alms bowl dating back to 1465.
The smaller of the 2 viharns is also Lanna style with entrance stairs guarded by Naga mythical snakes leading to very old but important Buddha images. The Phra Sila Buddha image is a standing Buddha sculpted in Sri Lanka over 1000 years ago. It is believed to hold the power to bring rain making it important to the farmers. Phra Sae Tang Khamani is a small Buddha carved from a quartz crystal, thus giving it the name Crystal Buddha. It is believed to have belonged to the Queen of Haripunchai dating to the 8th century. In the 13th century, the King of Chiang Mai burned Haripuncha and when the Crystal Buddha survived, it was believed to have protective powers.
The ubosot (ordination hall), decorated with beautifully carved wood, dates back to the 19th century. The front stone of the ubosot, dated 1581, records the exact founding date of Chiang Mai – April 12th 1296.
The final structure is the Ho Trai (scripture hall) which is a simple wooden building.