Another visit-worthy temple of Chiang Mai
When in Chiang Mai, the city of old culture and sweet-mannered people, the sites where you can linger all day to admire the city's magical charm are temples dotting the city in abundance. Apart from Wat Phra Sing which is a well-known beautiful Buddhist temple where Phra Phuttha Sihing, a most revered Buddha image of the north is enshrined, Wat Lok Moli appears to be another interesting and visit-worthy temple.
The name of Wat Lok Moli was mentioned in the Chronicle of the Lanna Kingdom when King Chai Racha of Ayutthaya (1534-1546) marched his troops to attack the Lanna Kingdom.
Wat Lok Moli is located near Chang Phuak Gate. Its front is adjacent to the road around the city moat. If you drive round the moat, you will notice its delicate patterned arch and its teak Lanna-style vihara.
Wat Lok Moli is an ancient temple of Chiang Mai but its establishing year is unknown. The name Wat Lok Moli was found in the "Legend of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep". It mentioned that in A.D. 1367 King Kuena, the sixth Lanna King of the Mangrai Dynasty who had a strong faith in Buddhism dispatched his envoys to invite Phra Maha Thera, a revered Buddhist monk of Martaban* to propagate Buddhism in the Lanna Kingdom.
*Martaban is an ancient town believed to have been founded in A.D. 573 by the first king of Pegu. At present it is a small town in Thaton District of Lower Myanmar.
Unfortunately, the monk was too old to travel. So, Phra Ananda Thera and another ten monks were sent as delegates to carry on this mission. When in the kingdom, the monk group stayed at Wat Lok Moli. Later, in 1527, King Ketklao transferred the area of Ban Hua Wiang Village to be part of the precinct of Wat Lok Moli. In 1528, he ordered the grand pagoda and the vihara to be established. When the king was assassinated in 1545, the civil servants agreed to house his relics in a pagoda at Wat Lok Moli.
After that, his daughter, Queen Chira Prapha succeeded him. Some legends assume that she was actually the Queen of King Ketklao, not his daughter. During her reign, Chiang Mai became weak in military strength, so, King Chai Racha of Ayutthaya led his army to attack Chiang Mai. Thanks to the Queen's wits, Chiang Mai maintained its sovereignty. Afterwards, the queen officially invited King Chai Racha to make merit at Wat Lok Moli. And the king gave the queen an amount of money to renovate the pagoda housing the relics of the late King Ketklao.
After that, Chiang Mai had been Burma's vassal state for about 200 years. During the Burmese rule, many temples were burnt down except Wat Lok Moli. This was because the Burmese king ruling Chiang Mai at that time held Wat Lok Moli as a prestigious temple.
This castle-style pagoda was constructed in 1528 in the reign of King Ketklao. It was later renovated and modified several times, adding to the height of the pagoda. Inside the pagoda are King Ketklao's relics.
The vihara of Wat Lok Moli shows typical Lanna architectural style with awesomely beautiful naga* stuccoed figures.
* a mythical serpent-like creature
Special thanks to Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Northern Office Region 1 for arranging an impressive press tour to Chiang Mai and to Mag Media Co.,Ltd and Forty-Five Organizer & Media Co.,Ltd. for facilitating the photographing and giving us useful information.
For taxi : วัดโลกโมฬี