Wat Chiang Man
Chiang Mai Attractions | Chiang Mai attractions
Located in the northeast corner of the old city (within the moat) this is the oldest wat in Chiang Mai. Built in 1296, by King Mengrai, Wat Chiang Man originally served as his home but is now inhabited solely by monks.
The bot of Wat Chiang Man features classic Thai architecture with huge ornately decorated teak columns holding the roof up. Although the bot contains an impressive Buddha image, the true 'prizes' of this wat are contained within the smaller wihaan to the right, where two impressive Buddhas are stored behind glass.
The larger of the two, Phra Sila (or stone Buddha) is a stone bas-relief which was imported from either India or Sri Lanka around 2,500 years ago. Its smaller counterpart, Phra Sae Tang Kamani (or crystal Buddha) stands to a height of only around 10 centimeters and is thought to have originally come from Lopburi around 1,800 years ago.
The Crystal Buddha has a very interesting history and, like many of the highly revered statues in the country, it has done more than its fair share of traveling. The story goes that there was a hermit named Phra Su-Tae-Wa who lived around 700 years after Buddha passed on. He was a disciple of Buddha's teachings and during a vivid dream, he met a god who told him that the King of Lawoh was busy building a Buddha image and that it needed to contain some relics of the Buddha. The hermit then ran off and organized to meet with the King where he successfully convinced the King to do just that. Once the statue was completed, it was believed that whoever conquered the town which possessed it could take it, as the losers did not deserve to retain it.