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Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is smaller then Chiang Mai but it is expanding fast, and regretfully without control. I visited Chiang Rai several times starting from 2000 when I arrived there by boat along the river Kok from Tha Ton.

On this page you will find what I consider really some nice photos that I took in Chiang Rai with my glorious Canon EOS 300 along the road from Chiang Mai, were I lived, to Chiang Rai.

I was used to drive on that road or get a bus at least every three months as it lead also to MaeSai and to Burma’s border, my change to get a Visa stamps on my Passport.

Photo northern Thailand, on the road to Chiang Rai, Monk.Photo northern Thailand, on the road to Chiang Rai, Monk. Photo northern Thailand, on the road to Chiang Rai, Monk
Photo northern Thailand, on the road to Chiang Rai, the white temple Wat Rong Khun.Photo northern Thailand, on the road to Chiang Rai, Monk. Photo northern Thailand, on the road to Chiang Rai, the white temple Wat Rong Khun.
Photo northern Thailand, on the road to Chiang Rai, the white temple Wat Rong Khun, detail. Photo northern Thailand, on the road to Chiang Rai, the white temple Wat Rong Khun, detail. Photo northern Thailand, on the road to Chiang Rai, the white temple Wat Rong Khun, detail.

 

The white temple Wat Rong Khun, nearby Chiang Rai is really strange and unusual and worth to be visited.

The white color stands for Lord Buddha’s purity, the white glass stands for Lord Buddha’s wisdom.

The bridge leading to the temple represents the crossing over from the cycle of rebirth.

The small semicircle before the bridge stands for the human world. The big circle with fangs is the mouth of Rahu, meaning impurities in the mind, a representation of hell or suffering.

On the roof, there are four kinds of animals representing earth, water, wind and fire. The elephant stands for the earth; the naga stands for water; the swan’s wings represent wind; and the lion’s mane represents fire.

In 1997, Chalermchai Kositpipat volunteered his service to carry out the construction of the ubosot at his own expense as an offering to Lord Buddha, but he later altered the plan as he saw fit in such a way that Wat Rong Khun developed into a prominent site attracting both Thai and foreign visitors.

Nowadays, Wat Rong Khun is still being under construction.

Chiang Rai was founded by King Mangrai in A.D. 1262 and became the capital of the Mangrai dynasty. However, it lost this status soon after to a new city built by Mangrai at Chiang Mai.

Subsequently, Chiang Rai was conquered by Burma and remained under Burmese rule for several hundred years.

It was not until 1786 that Chiang Rai became Chiang Mai vassal and proclaimed a province of Thailand in 1933.

In the surroundings of Chiang Rai is remarkable and definitely worth a visit the modern, unconventional, and famous (at least among Thais) white temple Wat Rong Khun designed by as designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat.

According to legend, the Emerald Buddha (a statue made of green jade) was created in India in 43 B.C. by Nagasena in the city of Pataliputra (today Patna). After three hundred years, it was taken to Sri Lanka.

In 457 King Anuruth of Burma sent a mission to Ceylon to ask for the Emerald Buddha, in order to support Buddhism in his country. The ship lost its way in a storm during the return voyage and landed in Cambodia.

When the Thais captured Angkor Wat the Emerald Buddha went to Ayutthaya (Cambodians record this as a gift to the Siamese King) then was hid in Chiang Rai.

According to history in 1432 during the reign of King Sam Fang Kaen of Mangrai dynasty (A.D. 1402-1441) the Phra Kaeo, or Emerald Buddha, The most revered Buddha figure, was discovered in Chiang Rai when an earthquake (or a lightning struck) split the Chedi at Wat Phra Kaeo.

The story and the journeys of this revered statue is quite long. King Sam Fang Kaen of Lannathai wanted it in his capital, Chiang Mai, but the elephant carrying it insisted, on three separate occasions, on going instead to Lampang. This was taken as a divine sign and the Emerald Buddha stayed in Lampang until 1468 when it was finally moved to Chiang Mai, where it was kept at Wat Chedi Luang.

The Emerald Buddha remained in Chiang Mai until 1552 when it was taken to Luang Prabang, the capital of the Lao kingdom of Lan Xang. King Setthathirath moved it to his new capital at Vientiane.

Finally King Rama I of Thailand moved the Emerald Buddha with a great ceremony to its current home in Bangkok at Wat Phra Kaew on March 22, 1784.

NOTE:
– the photos have been realized starting from original prints using a scanner HP, wait to load completely the page before click on the pictures, be aware that it can take several seconds –
– Chiang Rai photos / Thailand – portfolio © www.artphotoasia.net –