Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang
Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang (The Temple of Lampang’s Great Buddha Relic) was founded in the 13th century. It is a fortified temple built on top of an earth mound surrounded by high brick walls.
The temple is one of the best examples of original Lanna style architecture in Thailand with its viharns (assembly halls) still open on all sides in typical early Lanna construction.
At the center of the wat is the main chedi or stupa (pagoda) 45 meters high and 24 meters wide at the base.
The exact date of its construction is unknown. It was enlarged and rebuilt in 1449 and enlarged again at the end of the 15th century to its current height.
It is covered in bronze and copper sheets that have changed colours over the centuries.
However, it still one of the very few historical and religious structures in the country that has kept its originality while others have been gilded when originally they were not.
It is said to have been visited by Buddha some 2,500 years ago and it keeps various Buddha relics, including a hair, the right forehead and neck bones, according to architectureofbuddhism.
The chedi is also the chosen temple for those born in the year of the Ox as it is believed that the construction of the temple was begun and completed in years of the Ox.
It is located behind Viharn Luang (Main Assembly Hall), which is the hall that visitors immediately will see after entering the main gate on top of the Naga (Great Snake) stairways guarded by two lions.
Viharn Luang is a large hall with a three-tiered roof built during the second half of the 15th century. The structure is supported by several huge concrete pillars that replaced the original teak wood.
Further into the hall is the enshrined Phra Chao Lang Thong cast in 1563.
16 Jataka (tales about the past lives of Buddha) wooden wall murals adorn the upper walls, some still discernible but most are seriously faded.
To the right Vihard Luang is Viharn Ton Kaew believed constructed in 1476. It showcases several Buddha statues, including a reclining version.
Behind Viharn Ton Kaew is Viharn Nam Tan estimated to have been constructed in the early 16th century.
Inside is a Bhumisparsha mudra (earth touching gesture), and is surrounded by a few standing Buddha images. Faded murals adorn the upper walls.
Behind Viharn Ton Kaew and behind the main chedi is Viharn Phra Sao Sila built around the 14th or 15th century.
Within the viharn, locked behind iron bars, is the enshrined statue of Phra Nak Prok or Phra Nakprok, the lucky guardian for those born on a Saturday. It is one the many amulets being bought and worn by Thais.
The Ubosot or ordination hall (left of Viharn Sao Sila) is usually closed except on proper occasion.
Ho Phra Phutthabat or footprint chapel is left of Viharn Sao Sila and aligned with the main chedi.
Inside is a complete pinhole image (produced by Camera Obscura) of the main chedi.
Somehow, the hole became much bigger by either natural means or vandalism, which ruined the projected image.
Women are not allowed inside.
Fortunately, another pinhole image of the main chedi( partially complete), can be seen inside Viharn Phra Put (women are allowed). The image is projected on the table to the right upen entering the door.
The vharn houses a 5-meter high Bhumisparsha mudra Buddha image seated on a high pedestal.
To the right are wax models of three venerable monks.
16 Jataka panels on the upper walls of Viharn Luang
The Jataka paintings at Viharn Luang are said to be over 100 years old. The Jataka is a collection of some 550 stories and tales on the earlier incarnations of the future Buddha. The Jataka tales are dated between 300 BC and 400 AD.