Thursday, 29 May 2008

Emerald Buddha - Wat Phra Keow, Chiang Rai

Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram  วัดพระศรีรัตนศาสดาราม
This is Chiang Rai's Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which claims to be the original Thai home of the Emerald Buddha. Wat Phra Kae is attributed as being the first royal temple of Chiang Rai.

Although no one can confirm the date of its construction, it is believed that the temple has existed ever since the city was founded. It was initially known as "Wat Pa Yia" which means the yellow bamboo forest in Thai as there was a lot of bamboo growing in this area.

The Emerald Buddha is believed to have been hidden in the chedi of Wat Pa Yia by King Mahabhrom in 1392 A.D. Legend tells that In the year 1434 A.D.the Emerald Buddha was discovered by chance when lightning struck the chedi. After this, the name of the temple was changed to Wat Phra Kaew. The Emerald Buddha remained in Chiang Rai for 45 years before being taken to Chiang Mai. However, the elephant carrying it refused to go all the way and the image was housed in a temple in Lampang for 32 years. Then in 1468, it finally moved to Chiang Mai where it stayed for 85 years at Wat Chedi Luang. In 1553, it was captured and taken to Laos where it stayed for 225 years. The Thais, under King Taksin, retrieved the sacred image and took it to Thonburi and then finally to its present location in Bangkok in 1778. A replica of the Emerald Buddha was created and can be seen in it's original home in the Chiang Rai Wat Phra Kaeo.

The temple contains many interesting design and style features and is definitely worth a visit.
Note: Thank you Mr SCY for contributing the photos.

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