Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao Lampang North Thailand
- Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao is located in the city of Lampang and was constructed by the first ruler of Lampang. It has a significant tall gilded Chedi and Burmese styled roofed mondrop. In 1434 -1468 it was the home for the Emerald Buddha , now housed in Bangkok at Wat Phra Kaeo .
- This is the second major site in the region. Immediately behind it is Wat Suchadaram constructed in 1804 and which incorporates Lao, Burmese and Lan Na concepts of art and architecture. This typifies the workmanship of Chiang Saen whose residents were resettled here by King Kavila after the razing of Chiang Saen by the Burmese.
- Today the oldest part of Lampang, where the most interesting historical monuments are to be seen, lies to the north of the River Wang, whilst the modern commercial town is to be found on the south bank. For this reason the old part of the city is known locally as Wiang Neua, or the “Northern Town”.
- Here the visitor will find Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao, the most important temple in the city, supposedly founded by the first ruler of Lampang. The central chedi, which is around 50 metres high, is believed to enshrine a hair of the Buddha. For some years this eminent temple housed the famous Emerald Buddha, palladium of the Thai Kingdom, long since moved to Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok. Of particular interest is a Burmese-style mondop, or square-shaped relic chamber, which was built in 1909 by Burmese artisans in typical Mandalay style.
- Links with nearby Burma were in fact particularly strong in the late 19th century, as Lampang was then a major logging centre, and Burmese often, in fact, Shan migrants flooded into the city to partake of the wealth teak created. At least a dozen Buddhist temples were sponsored and largely constructed by these relatively wealthy migrants, and their legacy lives on today both in the unusual, distinctively Burmese temple architecture, and in the temples themselves at least four local wats continue to have Burmese abbots.