Lamphun Tourism and Tourist Places of Interest
Wat Haripunchai Lamphun
- Lamphun was first settled by the Lawa and later the Mon . Lamphun (then called Haripunchai) is thought to have been settled by the Mon in the beginning of the 9th C.
- Lumphun city was the capital of the Mon Haripunchai Empire . The chronicles tell of wars in the 11th C with the Khmers from Lop Buri.
- In the 13th C Khmer power was waning in the region with rebellions in Lower North Thailand at Si Satchanalai, Sukhothai and elsewhere.
- In 1281 the city and the Haripunchai Kingdom were conquered by the Tai Yuan led by King Mangrai.
There Are Five Significant Tourist Places Of Interest In Lamphun, Chiang Mai Province:
- The ancient Mon moat in the typical oval shape
- Wat Phra That Haripunchai. This is the largest Wat in North Thailand and was constructed by the Mon about 1150 (although the remaining buildings date from the 15th C). This is the most significant site in the region
- The National Museum of Lamphun. It has a good collection of Mon sculptures in stucco, bronze, terracotta and bronze
- Wat Ku Kut. It contains the Mahapol Chedi built in 1150 and which is the finest example of Dvaravati architecture. This and the smaller 13th C chedi are made of brick and contain niches in which stand stucco made statues of Buddha in typical Mon style. These have broad heads and facial features not typically Thai as we understand today and Indian (Pala) influences of appearance which perhaps came from Pagan in nearby Burma
- Ku Chang or elephant shrine which is understood to be the burial place of the Mon Queen, Chamathewi's war elephant which saved the city from the Lawa by crushing the Lawa chief against the city wall
- Wat Phra Yeun. This was built in 1370 on a site on which was an 11th C Buddha.
Wat Haripunchai Lamphun
Wat Haripunchai at Lamphun
- In addition to an impressive but modern viharn, built in 1925 and housing the important Phra Chao Thongtip Buddha image, the temple complex also includes the unusual stepped-pyramid Suwanna Chedi, dating from 1467, one of very few surviving example of Dvaravati architecture. Nearby hangs a giant bronze gong, claimed to be the largest in the world. By any standards, Wat Phra That Haripunchai is a remarkable structure, to be treasured like Kipling's "winking wonder", the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, not only by the Thais, but by humanity in general.
- As in any tour of ancient Thailand, the visitor faces the possibility of "temple fatigue" after all, neighbouring Chiang Mai boasts 121 temples within the city limits, and many more beyond. Even so, at least one more Lamphun temple is essential viewing, and in its own way it is as important as Wat Phra That Haripunchai. This is Wat Chamadevi, better known locally as Wat Ku Kut. Named after Lamphun's founder and most famous ruler, this temple lies on the western side of town, about one-and-a-half kilometres from the moats down the road to Sanpathong Village.
- Wat Chamadevi is the site of the two oldest surviving monuments in Lamphun, both brick chedis decorated with stucco figures of the Buddha, dating from 1218, and considered to be the finest surviving examples of Haripunchai indeed, Mon architecture in Thailand. The larger of the two, Chedi Suwan Chang Kot, is a stepped pyramid 21 metres high, thought to have been modelled on a similar dagoba in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. Nearby there is another chedi of smaller proportions but equal style. This structure, the Ratana Chedi, is said to contain the ashes of the great queen herself.
- At the southern end of Inthayongyot Road, near the banks of the encircling moat, may be seen the striking statue of Queen Chamadevi. This remarkable ruler, who was instrumental in the spread of Buddhism and of Mon culture in the region more than one thousand years ago, is one of the heroines of Thai history. By all accounts she was both determined and ingenious, so it comes as no surprise that to this day the women of Lamphun are considered strong-willed and proud because of her influence.
- Twelve kilometres south of Lamphun, further along Highway 106 en route to the small provincial towns of Li and Thoen, the visitor will find the village of Pasang noted for its cotton weaving, lamyai orchards, and beautiful girls. By some accounts the girls of Pasang are the loveliest in all Thailand. They certainly caught the attention of one former French ambassador, who noted that they are ‘fair with wide almond eyes, slender and supple, providing many prize-winners for beauty contests’.
- A journey of a further nine kilometres leads to Wat Phra Phuttabaat Taak Pha, perhaps better known to aficionados of the Rambo movies as the temple where Sylvester Stallone is found in retreat at the beginning of the film Rambo III. The temple is characterised by a footprint said to have been left by the Buddha when he stopped to dry his clothes. Views of the surrounding countryside, and especially of the Ping River valley, are spectacular from the temple mount.
Mon Stucco Figure at Wat Ku Kut Lamphun
1,000 Year History Between The Mons Of Lop Buri, Lamphun & Myanmar
- Lop Buri was at times under attack by the Khmer and at times became a vassal of the Khmer Empire. The Khmers also sought to expand North and conquer Haripunchai. These stories are documented in the ancient Chronicles.
- A major war campaign took place between the Mon Kings 1010-1020. It started with the Lamphun Kings invasion of Lop Buri, only to be thwarted by the Khmer Kings occupation and conquest of Lop Buri on arrival from Nakhon Si Thammarat in South Thailand (then also part of the Khmer Empire). In 1050 a cholera epidemic caused the Mon in Lamphun to live with other Mon in South Central Burma. Ever since relations between the Mon of both Nations have been good. Relations between the Mon Rulers of Haripunchai (Lumphun) and Lop Buri were at all times subjugated by Khmer influence over the Lop Buri Mon.
- Around the Town of Lumphun we can today see the moat fortifications of the then satelite Wiangs (fortified outposts). These are at Wiang Mano, Wiang Tho, Wiang Tha Kan and Wiang Kum Kan.