Ruins and Temples at Wiang Kum Kam, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
high-definition creative commons photographs from this ancient capital of Lanna, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand, showing the architecture, statues and decoration work, together with further information.
Disciple on Ubosot Window Frame, Chedi Liam
Wiang Kum Kam is a recently restored settlement along the Ping River, which was built by King Mangrai as his capital before he moved it to Chiang Mai, after it was flooded more than 700 years ago; that move became more understandable in 2005, when the ancient city was flooded three separate times and the river overflowed its banks in that area of Chiang Mai.
Wiang Kum Kam is located in Sarapee district in the the northern region of Thailand, around 20km south of Chiang Mai. According to the chronicles and archeological evidences, the old city was built by King Mangrai around the latter part of 1281.
The city was established as a new capital by the King after his victory over the Mon Hariphunchai kingdom, modern Lamphun. Wiang Kum Kam flourished during the reign of the Mangrai dynasty until the late 16th century.
The old city was then lost from history for many years after Chiang Mai was conquered by the Burmese in 1558. There is a presumption that it flooded again at this time and was finally abandoned. The people were moved back to this area once again more than 200 years later with a new community, and it was then named Chang Kham village.
In 1984, the Department of Fine Arts in Thailand discovered remnants of the old city at Wat Kam Thom and afterwards excavation was begun, later many new remains have been found and restoration has proceeded since that time.
The main temple in the area is Wat Chedi Liam (originally Wat Ku Kham), the name Wat Ku Kham means The Temple of the Golden Chedi and the later name means The Temple with the Angular Chedi. It was built c.1288 and remained in use during the early Lanna period after the new city of Chiang Mai had been established by King Mangrai the Great.
The current buildings are from a renovation in 1908 CE by a Burmese trader. Because of this many of the decorations of the wat are Burmese in style. The Chedi was further renovated in 1992 when a number of other improvements were made to the site. Despite its great age the wat is still in use today.
The Chedi is a five-tiered design common in the early Lanna period and shows clear influence of the Mon Haripunchai design. Each corner of the chedi is guarded by a large, outward facing lion, and there are Buddha statues showing different mudras on four of the tiers of the Chedi.
Text adapted from the Wikipedia articles Wiang Kum Kam and Wat Chedi Liam (retrieved, July 14th 2011
Decoration at Wat Chedi Liam
Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu
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