Wat Phra Singh
Chiang Mai Attractions | Chiang Mai sightseeing
Construction of Wat Phra Singh was begun under the supervision of King Pha Vu in 1345, but all the buildings today date from the nineteenth century and much restoration work is of a very recent date.
The rear viharn has some beautiful murals depicting scenes from every-day life in Lanna a hundred years ago.
Wat Phra Singh houses the highly revered yet controversial Phra Singh Buddha. The Phra Sihing or Phra Singh Buddha image is considered especially elegant. It is one of a rare series of "lion" style images. The features of this style are said to be similar to those of a lost "Lion of Sakyas" image, which come from the Pala school in Bodhgaya, India.
The distinct features of the "lion" style include the slight plumpness at the form as well as the lotus bud shape of the flame above the skull, and the short flap of cloth over the left shoulder that descends as far as the nipple.
Experts have not agreed as to whether this is the "true" image, and identical statues can be found elsewhere in Thailand. Nevertheless, it is a very impressive statue, and the epicenter of the Songkran festival in mid-April.
Located at the end of Phra Singh Road in the western center of the old city, this is one place where one should keep an eye out for unscrupulous gem men.