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                          <♦> Welcome to Chiangmai <♦>
           Chiangmai is a city built on the roots of traditional heritage that dig deep into the soil of time. It's a city with a beautiful culural personality of its town. In addition, it's been blessed with much majestic beauty in nature. The people themselves are an unforgettable part of Chiangmai. Handicraft of silk, silver and wood are timeless souvenirs for visitors from all over that is Thailand's main mountain resort and second biggest province.

          ♦♦ Facts and Figures
♦♦
Location
          Chiangmai is 700 kilometers north of Bangkok and it about 1,000 feet above sea level.

Topography.
          A large part of Chiangmai's land is covered by mountains and the forests. Its largest and most important river is the ping, which originates in the mountains north of Chiang Dao and flows southwards for 540 kilometers. It is along the banks of this river that Chiangmai's flat valley are lies.

Weather.
           Chiangmai is quite cool, with average yearly temperature of 25.4°c. Northern Thailand has three seasons: summer (hot and humid), rainy (wet, monsoon) and winter (cool and dry).

People and Culture.
          With a population of about 1.5 million, Chiangmai is one of Thailand's largest province. Over 170,000 of its people live in the city area; the rest are distributed thriughout its 22 districts and 2 sub-districts. A number of hilltribes live in the mountainous districts surrounding Chiangmai.

Religion.
           For Centuries past, Chiangmai was the centre of religious activity in Northern Thailand. Today,
85 percent of the people are Buddhist.

                                       ♦♦♦ Temple Scenes ♦♦♦
          There are 300 temples in Chiangmai alone, and their architecture has been influenced by Lanna Thai, Burmese, Sri Lanka and Mon cultures. Buddhist influences are also prevalent as can be seen from the intricate woodcraving, Naga and serpent staircases, guardian figures from the Ramayana, gilded umbrellas and stupas trimmed with gold filigree, which reflect the Thai's reverence for their religion.

≈♦≈ Among the most important temples are:
Wat Phathat Doi Suthep.
          One of the most revered temples, it is a major pilgrimage destination during Makha Buja and Visak. Legend has it that a buddha relic magically replicated just before it was about to be enshrined in the big chedi at Wat Suan Dok. The duplicated relic was placed on and elephant's back, which was allowed to climb to the top of Suthep Mountain. It trumpeted three times, turned around three times,knelt and died. The chedi was built on the spot where it died.

   
       
 
Wat Phra Sing.
          The Temple dates back to 1,345 and is one of the centers of festivities during Songkhran. In the compound at Sam Lan Road is a chapel called Lai Kham, where ancient woodcarving, murals, bars, relief works, and a sacred Buddha images are housed.
           One of its most beautiful buildings in the small Lanna style teakwood Ho Trai (library), the base of which is decorated with lovely white stucco angels.
   
 
       
 
Wat Chedi Luang.
          On Prapokkhao Road is a massive pagoda, which was built under the direction of King Saeng Muang Ma to enshrine the relics of his father. In 1545, Wat Chedi Luang was destroyed by an earthquake and the temple lay in ruins until 1,991, when reconstruction began. The chedi (pagoda) was 90 meters high before the earthquake, which was then the tallest building for over 500 years. The restored chedi now stands 60 meters high. 
   
 
      

Wat Chiang Man.
          Known as Chiangmai's oldest temple, Wat Chiang Man used to be the residence of King Mengrai. It is located inside the walled city on Rajpakinai Road. Enshrined in the Wat is a tiny crystal figurine of Phra Setang Khamani who is thought to have a power to ring rain. Another image called Phra Sila, which was probably made in India over thousand years ago, displays very fine craftmanship. The pagoda stands out with rows of elephant buttresses at its base.
    
 
         
 
Wat Jed Yod.
          On the super highway north of Doi Suthep Nimmarnhemin Road is a temple that was built in 1,447 by King Tilokraj. Its seven-spire square chedi, decorated with beautiful stucco statues, was inspired by the architecture of Buddhagaya, northern India, and site of the Buddha's enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago. The bigger pagoda contains his ashes. While there, you should also visit the museum that houses a fine collection of Lanna Buddhist art.
   
           
 
Wat Suan Dok.
          It was built in 1,383 on what is now called Suthep Road. The name is a refletion of the pleasure gardens built here for the monarches of Lanna Thai. It has two major attractiona: the first is its big wooden Viharn (assembly hall) that is built in the style of an open-sided pavilion and houses a 500 year old Buddha images, while the second attraction is outside the Viharn where a brilliant white chedi that was built in the 14th century can be seen. Next to it are a large number of smaller also brilliant white chedi, under which the ashes of Chiangmai nobles were buried.
 
 
      
 
Wat Umong.
         
The most controversial temple with regards to its history and origin, Wat Umong is tucked in a forest area not too far from the city. Many believed that King Mengrai built the temple for a respected senior monk who, in order to practice the teachings of Buddha needed a quiet environment.
          Archeological finds, however, don't seem to support the story. In a stone inscription at the entrance to one of its concrete caves, it is written: "The origins of the monastery are unknown". The caves were probably built in the second half of the 14th century by King Kuna of Chiangmai to accommodate a learned monk, the  Therajan. From this derived the present name of the monastery Wat Umong Therajan, which means "monastery with caves for the Therajan".

     
       
 





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