Wat Phra Singh

sights / Religious

Wat Phra Singh information

Chiang Mai , Thailand
Th Singharat
admission 20B
Opening hours
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Chiang Mai's most revered temple, Wat Phra Singh draws pilgrims and sightseers for its resident Buddha and its classic Lanna art and architecture. Visitors should dress modestly (clothing covering shoulders and knees).

Phra Singh (Lion Buddha), the temple's famous image, is housed in Wihan Lai Kham, a small chapel to the rear of the temple grounds next to the chedi (stupa). The building boasts a Lanna-style three-tiered roof and carved gables. Inside are sumptuous lai·krahm (gold-pattern stencilling) and murals.

Despite Phra Singh's exalted status, very little is actually known about the image. It is considered one of the most beautiful examples of Lanna religious art thanks to its thick human-like features and lotus-shaped topknot. Because there are two nearly identical images in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Bangkok, no one knows if this is the real one, nor can anyone document its place of origin. Regardless, this Phra Singh image came to reside here around the 1360s, and is now a fixture in the religious ceremonies of the Songkran festival.

Other features include the temple's main chedi, which is a classic Lanna-style octagonal base. It was built by King Pa Yo in 1345 in honour of his father. The main wí·hăhn, which sits right at the entrance, houses a bigger but less important Buddha known as Thong Thip.