Photographer's Note

At the heart of Chiang Mai, a mile square medieval moat outlined the historic core of what was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, an ancient state that spread from eastern Burma (also known as Myanmar) to the western valleys of Laos. Founded in 1296 A.D., Chiang Mai became an important cultural and religious center before successive military invasions set off its decline and ultimately caused its rulers to abandon the city in the 18th century.

In northern Thailand and in Burma, one can find many beautiful old teak structures. One of these Lanna style buildings lies a short distance north of Wat Chedi Luang. This fine teak viharn, now part of Wat Phan Tao, was constructed in 1846 as a hor kham or royal residence - used by the ruler of Chiang Mai from 1846 to 1854.

Wat Phan Tao has an exquisite wooden structure. Built 160+ years ago, almost every part of the viharn (assembly hall) which houses Buddha images and murals was constructed from teak, which seems to emanate a holy, mind-soothing atmosphere. This is in fact one of the few all-wood monastery halls in Chiang Mai. The wood is coated with "dragon's blood", a natural substance that protects it from rain and other moisture. Despite much effort over the years to maintain the viharn, time has inevitably eroded some of its elegance. Restoration work has somewhat brought back the glory days of this small but beautiful monastery

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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