Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's At Wat Lok Molee?

Aesthically, this would have to be my most favourite wat yet. On the entrance and some surrounding buildings, white decorations made from fired clay (?) overlay the rusty brown bricks, reminding me of an iced ginger bread house or lacy wedding cake.
One of two yaksha demon warrior statues standing guard.
The resident plaque states - "Wat Lok Molee, Amphoe Muang. An old and significat site, there is no record of the temple's founding date, but its name first appeared in historical texts in 1367. The sixth Lanna King of the Mengrai Dynasty invited a group of 10 monks from Burma to bring their study and practice of Buddhism to his Kingdom (present day Northern Thailand). The monks stayed at this temple. Phra Kaew Maung ordered a chedi built in 1527 and the main hall built in 1545. The temple houses the ashes of the members of the Royal Mengrai Dynasty and was maintained by the royal family until the end of the dynasty."
On either side of the pathway, leading to the wat doorway, stand life size white elephant statues, followed by gold and silver leafed trees.
On each leaf is one of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac. I'm a tiger, he's an ox.
More clay sculpted signs of the zodiac on the lawn with the chedi standing in the background.
The chedi below, houses the ashes of King Phra Muang Ket Klao, who after being overthrown by his own son and then reinstated, was assassinated  executed because he suffered from a mental illness a couple of years later in 1545. 

Also in the chedi are the ashes of Queen Wisuthidhevee (or Visuddhadevi), who ruled after him until her death in 1578, says one of the plaques...but the history books aren't conistant on this point. Some say she didn't get to sit in the throne until 1564, another states Chiraprapa, the fore mentioned not quite the full quid King's daughter, ruled after his offing, before abdicating only one year later.

There is also a theory that Wisuthidhevee and Chiraprapa, were one in the same and that she was infact the daughter of the Loatian King Jayajettha. Anyhoo....the Kingdom of Lanna pretty much fell to pieces around this time, which was when the Burmese invaded, and stayed on, for more than two centuries.

...so it's all as clear as mud to me. If only microfiching had been around back in those days. 

Today visitors are able to write their dreams, prayers and/or well wishes (?) on a giant orange ribbon, which is then continually wrapped around the chedi as it grows in length.
Some amazing timber sculptures can be found in the temple grounds, like this giant elepahant relief.
 
Almost prehistoric.
Next door to the wat (east, across the lane way, from the chedi), if you're lucky you might be able to catch the artists hard at work.
 

Next stop...Wat Mornthean!



Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai

8 comments:

Lani said... Best Blogger Tips

Very nice! Where is this at? I will have to add this to places to visit. And also educational, thank you Snap!

By the by, I'm an ox too!

Theodora said... Best Blogger Tips

We never saw this one while we were in Chiang Mai. It's very beautiful. And it looks like you had it all to yourself.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Lani darn the google map location widgetty thing...it's not showing on the post for some reason. The wat is just outside the north wall, more towards the west corner...can't miss it.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Theodora There weren't many people at the wat...or any of the other temples we visited that day.

Just lucky I guess :)

Mike said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap, great stuff. I love Buddhism/temples, perhaps you might like to do a guest post on my Wat Thai Temple blog?

Love the tree and the giant demon guardian photos. There are so many different versions of the latter.

Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap - Lovely photos and certainly a place I could enjoy casting my eye over. I was quite fascinated by the Yaksha demon warriors at Suvarnabhumi airport.

I'm not sure if your assassination of the character of King Phra Muang Ket Klao's son is such a good idea. Then again I'm a little bit too defensive when it comes to Thai royalty and officialdom.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Mike I'm happy to do a guest post on your Wat Thai Temple blog...although I know little about them apart from what I see and read. Could you make the questions multiple choice? ;)

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

@Martyn Point taken Martyn...I never thought about that, especially as it all happened so long ago and has been written elsewhere. I'll take heed next time.

The yakshas at Suvarnabhumi are grand, aren't they.