Wat Phra Singh

Enlarge ISBN (identifier) Ubosot
A simplified plan of Wat Phra Singh
A detailed plan of Wat Phra Singh
Wihan Luang
Wihan Lai Kham
The Phra Buddha Sihing statue inside Wihan Lai Kham
The ubosot of Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh (full name: Wat Phra Singh Woramahaviharn; Thai: วัดพระสิงห์วรมหาวิหาร; RTGSWat Phra Sing Wora Maha Wihan; (pronunciation); Northern Thai: LN-Wat Phrasing Woravihar.png) is a Buddhist temple (Thai language: Wat) in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII), the older brother of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), bestowed on it the status of Royal temple of the first grade in 1935.

Location

Wat Phra Singh is located in the western part of the old city centre of Chiang Mai, which is contained within the city walls and moat. The main entrance is guarded by Singhs (lions). Wat Pra Singh is situated at the end of the main street (Rachadamnoen road) of Chiang Mai. The road runs east from the temple, via Tapae Gate, to the Ping River.

Name

Phra Singh is an abbreviated form of Phra-Put-Tha-Shi-Hing and does not refer to the word Singh ("lion").

Notability

The temple houses an important Buddha statue: the Phra Buddha Sihing which gives the temple its name. The origins of this statue are unknown but, according to legend, it was based on the lion of Shakya, a statue since lost which used to be housed in the Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya (India). The Phra Buddha Sihing statue is supposed to have been brought, via Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), to Ligor (present day Nakhon Si Thammarat) and, from there, via Ayutthaya, to Chiang Mai.

There are two more Buddha statues in Thailand which are claimed to be the Phra Buddha Sihing: one is housed in Wat Phra Mahathat in the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat and another one the Bangkok National Museum.[1]:227,369

It is alleged that the head of the statue had been stolen in 1922. The possibility remains that the present statue (or maybe only the head) is a copy.

Every year, during the Songkran festival, the statue is taken from wihan Lai Kham and carried through the streets of Chiang Mai in a religious procession during which the spectators honour the statue by sprinkling water over it.

History

Construction on Wat Phra Singh began in 1345 when King Phayu,[2]:226–227 the fifth king of the Mangrai dynasty, had a chedi built to house the ashes of his father King Kham Fu. A wihan and several other buildings were added a few years later and the resulting complex was named Wat Lichiang Phra. When, in 1367, the statue of Phra Buddha Singh was brought to the temple, the temple complex received its present name. During restoration works in 1925, three funerary urns were discovered inside a small chedi. It was assumed that these contained royal ashes. The urns have since been lost. From 1578 to 1774 the Burmese ruled Lanna and in this period the temple was abandoned and came under serious disrepair. It was only when King Kawila assumed the throne as King of Chiang Mai in 1782, that the temple was restored. King Kawila had the ubosot built and the chedi enlarged. Later successors restored the Wihan Lai Kham and the elegant Ho Trai (temple library).

The whole temple complex underwent extensive renovations under the famous monk Khru Ba Srivichai during the 1920s. Many of the buildings were again restored in 2002.

Sights

Buddhist monks in the ubosot of Wat Phra Singh

Wat Phra Singh UK

In 2013 a Wat was established in Runcorn in Cheshire, England with the support of Wat Phra Singh and the President of the Council for Thai Buddhist Monks in the UK. The former Waterloo Hotel was converted into a Buddhist temple by Wat Phra Singh UK. As of May 2014, there are five resident monks.[3]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Rajanubhab, D., 2001, Our Wars With the Burmese, Bangkok: White Lotus Co. Ltd., ISBN 9747534584
  2. ^ Coedès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella (ed.). The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans. Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1.
  3. ^ Home, Wat Phra Singh UK, retrieved January 3, 2017