Wat Chiang Man
Chiang Man is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai,
older even than the city. It was constructed during the reign of King Mengrai,
who lived in the temple while overseeing the construction of Chiang Mai, the
capital of the Lanna kingdom.
The temple possesses one of the most treasured
artifacts in Thailand—a Buddha image called the Phra Sae Tang Kamani (Crystal
Buddha). When this image is carved is not known but it was mentioned first
mentioned in 1296, when King Mengrai arranged for it to be brought to Chiang
Mai. A war was fought over possession of this image. After it was returned, a
ceremony has been performed every year since 1380 on April 1st to mark the
Another famous Buddha held by the temple is
called the Phra Sila (stone Buddha) which is thought to have been carved around
900 AD in India. Legend says that whichever city possesses both Buddhas will
thrive. However, the blessing only works if the city also posses the Phra Singh
image, but it is not known if the Buddha kept in Phra Singh is authentic. The
Buddhas are also thought to have the power to produce rain.
One interesting aspect of the temple is its chedi
(pagoda) which has 15 lifesize elephant carvings incorporated into its base.
The Standing Buddha statue at the temple is the oldest Lanna kingdom statue
known. An inscription dates it to 1465.
A stone inscription near the door of the
ordination hall (bot) is dated 1581. It includes a history of the town and
monastery, as well as a list of donors to the temple. It confirms that the
temple was founded by King Mengri and that it was restored in 1471, 1558, 1571,