Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Year of Chicken, Phra That Hariphunchai Stupa, Lamphun

Phra That Hariphunchai stupa has been with the city of Lamphun since the ancient time.

Legend has it that once the Buddha visited the land of the Meng. There, the King of Naga (mythical serpent) and the King of crow, came to wait on him. A man offered the Buddha a myrobalan fruit, and the Buddha predicted that there was going to be a city called “Hariphunchaiburi” there.

At that place there would be “Phra Suwan Chedi” (meaning a golden stupa) housing many different parts of the Buddha’s relics. The two kings asked for the Buddha’s hair strand and put it in a wooden tube inside a crystal container. It was kept in the cave the Buddha once resided. In 877, a palace was built on top of that cave. King Athittayarat of Hariphunchai wanted to use a bathroom inside the palace but there were crows preventing him from doing so. It was known later that the Buddha’s relics were kept there so the palace was abolished and the relics taken out from the cave to be worshipped. The King built a golden stupa to house the relics. The stupa had constantly been restored by the Kings of Lanna. The last restoration was done in the reign of King Tilokkarat of Chiang Mai about 500 years ago.

In the temple grounds, there are also Phra Suwan Chedi, one of the first stupas in Hariphunchai art style; Chiang Yan Chedi, an ancient stupa with five tiers; and a bell tower, for instance. On the 13th night of the waxing moon of the 6th lunar month every year, the relics bathing ceremony is conducted. Water used during this ceremony is to be taken only from a holy water well on top of a hill outside the city.

Location - 335 Intayongyot Road, Mu 1, Tambon Nai Mueang, Mueang district, Lamphun

Getting there
By Car-From Bangkok use highway No. 1 and then highway no. 32 to Nakhon Sawan. Then take highway No. 1 passing through Khamphaeng Phet to Lampang. From there take highway no. 11 to Lamphun. The distance from Bangkok is 670 km.

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