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Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew is famous throughout Thailand as the original home of the translucent green Buddha which graces the Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok’s Grand Palace. It was discovered in 1434 when a bolt of lighting hit an old Chedi. In the occasion of HRH Princess Mother at her 90 years in 1990, Phra Yok Chiangrai, made of jade brought from Canada, a replica of that image was created to presides over at Hor Phra Yok, which was opened by HRH Princess Kalayaniwattana on November 26th 1998.

Wat Phra Kaew is also famous as the one of the royally endowed temple in this province. The abbot, Venerable Phra Dhammarachanuwat is the ecclesiastical head of all North Thailand.

Like many temples throughout Thailand, Wat Phra Kaew is the beneficiary of many donations of important religious art works from members of its parish making merit. Arguably being the most important temple in the province, this Wat Phra Kaew has received more than its share over many centuries. Since 2006 Acharn Supachai Sitilert, retired Deputy Director of the National Science Museum (in Bangkok) and Rebecca Weldon, a museumologist formerly based at Rai Mae Fah Luang, have worked through the temple’s vast storage of treasures to identify and research the holdings. Their initiative is now being supported by many monks based at the temple who are doing advanced studies in Lanna documentation, history and archaeology. Fortunately religious donations are usually very well documented (sometimes literally in stone), and the results of their efforts may be seen in a fine community museum inside the temple grounds.

The small selection on display is beautifully arranged to illustrate many aspects of religious art in Lanna over hundreds of years. Each item is labeled in Thai, English and Lanna. The literate in both Thai and English can ask for brochures giving much greater detail. There are also some secular items on display including the official uniform of Jao Rachawong Buarakot, which was appointed from Bangkok (1890s). .

The museum is located on Trirat Road across from Overbrook Hospital. Entry is free of charge. It operates seven days a week from 9.00 to 17.00 o’clock.

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