History Of Ancient Chiang Saen And Lanna   CLICK>>>

            Chiang Saen is small district of Chiang Rai province and the Ancient City of Chiang Saen is one of the oldest settlements in the Kingdom of Thailand. It is located along the Mekong River. The residents of Chiang Saen have a very easy-going and peaceful lifestyle. Many of the residents live nearby one of the hundreds of ancient structures that once graced this city.

A story about an Area on the Western Bank of the Mekong River
           Before the Lanna Kingdom flourished there was actually another Kingdom that predated it . This Kingdom was based in Chiang saen .which is located on a flat portion of land on the western bank of the Mekong River and through its long history produce a multitude of historical site and architectural monuments that can still be seen to this day .
      Wat Pa Sak- (near the main gate into the city is 13 to 14 century temple is locate just outside the city wall . Architecturally and artistically ,it is one of the most important monuments in the area. The stuccoed brick chedi , the Mon style ( the square diminishing tiers with nices for standing Buddhas,similar to that of the Mahapol Chedi at Wat ku kut near Lamphun ) .The base of the chedi is beliveed to be influenced by Haripunchai architectural design. The temple is quite unique architecturally and many different designs such as Pukham,Chinese and Sukhothai.
      According to records in Chiang Ma
i,the Chiang Saen was built by Saen plu,a grandson of King Mengrai the Great who built a wall around the city in the 1328 AD. The city measured 1,400 meters by 3,000 meters. Chiang Saen is built on an older settlement,which is thought to be Muang Ngern Yang . This may be one reson why wqe often hear reference to place caiied Muang Ngern Yang Chiang Saen or Hiran Nakhon Ngern Yang .

        Once the city was re-established Saen Plu remaind at this city of the rest of his life . The main objective of keeping this outpost on the Maekong River was to protect the Lanna Kingdom from invenders from the noth. Upon passing through the city gate along route 1016,the Chiang Saen National museum and Wat Prathat Chadi Luang are both located on the right.
      Chedi Luang – may not be biggest chedi in the Lanna Kingdom but it certainly is the biggest chedi in Chiang Saen. The temple is just ashell compared to ist glorious past , although ist tranquil beauty can still be observed. The octanganal bse support a round-shaped chedi .Thereare four another minor chedi that can be found in the vicinity.

........An expert from the writing of Carl Book that “there were many bronze Buddha image that were scattered all around , some of which were quite large. Oneof the ruin had a Buddha image sitting under a 5-headed Naga. When I returned Chiang Rai with this image , my host prohibited me from bring this Buddha image into the house or even onto his property was promptly advised to send this image to the temple nearby . I now want to return to Chiang Mai and requested the Chao Luang (City Mayor) to request him to send me 30 person to help me transport the Buddha image that I have collected”

      Upon reflecting on what was written ,I get the feeling that Thai people during those times where not very interested in historical object and object . This may aiso be one reason why homes have been built rather haphazardly among archeological monument that date more than a thousand years! We must really reflect on this situation and do something about it so that Thai people inn the future can appreciate the heritage of our ancestors.

       Beyond the Post office of Chiang Sean about 200 meter from Wat Prathat Chedi Luang is a 15 century temple called Wat Mung Muamg where there is a four-tiered chedi . Based on its believed that this temple was built later that Wat Pa Sak.
        Nearby is Wat Phra Chao Lan Thong temlpe where many Chiang Sean resident come to visit. This temple is home to the bronze Buddha image Phra Chao Lan Thong.The chedi is two tiered with four-side on the bottom tier and eight tier . It is believed that this chedi was built at a later time during the reign of the King Tilokaraj in the year 1487 AD.

        On this day , I set forth early in the morning so I can take advantage of the rising sun to give me spectacular photo of temple ,vehicles travelling down the road , new construction project and women on their way to the temple carrying silver bowls. Later in the morning , I was advised by a dock worker, unloading fruits coming from Chaina to go to Wat Pha Khao Pan which is located right next to the city wall.

         Inside the Wat Pha Kao Pan is a tall chedi with niches containing image of Buddha walking . The top part of the chedi is rounded in shape . It is said that this temple was established in the year 761 AD . Architectural design, however , suggests that the temple was constructed after Wat Phra That chom Kitti and the Phra Chao Lan Thong chedi which were constructed in the 16 century.
There are two temple at Chiang Sean that offer a commanding Views of Chiang Sean and the Maekong River.These temple are Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao and Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti.

             Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao is located to the south of the city on a mound that has a commanding view of the serrounding area and the Maekong River . If you need to take a photo where you can see the Thailand , Laos and Myanmar this is a good place to come . The Thai side is sparsely forested with dotted with houses . You can also see the Kok and Kham River that drain into the Maekong River . Laos is still thickly forested .Myanmar, which is located towards the north is visible onlymy clear day. The Mae Kong River flows leisurely during the dry months exposing wide sandbars and could rise my many meters during the rainy month .

             Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti- The views of the city of Chiang Sean from Wat Phrathat Chom Kitti is partially obstructed by and teak forest unlike the view from Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao . The Mae Kong River can clearly be seen from hear. This temple is said to have been constructed in the year 940 AD by Prachao Pangkaraj the 24 ruler of Yonok and Phrachao Prahom Maharaj to preserve a Buddha relic that were split into several portions .Other recipients of the relic in Chiang Rai province included Phrathat Doi Chom Thong , Jomjor , Jomsak , and Jomve , and jomjeng and Phrathat Doi Tung.

Chiang Sean National Museum
        The National Museum has a collection of ancient artifacts recovered from archeological site at Chiang Sean and other nearby areas . This is a wall –laid out of Museum ,which is divided into two floor. The first floor displays artifacts from Wat Pa Sak . the second floor displays artifacts site in Chiang Sean . the Annex building contain information regarding the people way of life ,religion , and belief of the people . Beyond the stairs is a souvenir shop where you can also purchase books regarding the lanna history Chiang Rai and Chiang Sean.

       Actually , the ancient city of Chiang Sean covered a large area much of which still has be discovered . There are still so many other temple which we have not mentioned because of space limitation in the Guidebook . These other notable temple include Wat Phra Chao lan Tue , Wat Sawatdee , and many others.
       The importance of this world heritage monument can increase – but this main depends on us and our children. If our children do not appreciate the beauty and historical significance of the ancient treasures our forefathers left us , the value of this historical monument will diminish .
Getting There
Upon reaching Chiang Rai City take good route 1 all the way past the town center of Mae Chan and the turn right into route 1016 .The route take you near the Chiang Lake ,upon entering the city of Chiang Sean you will be met by the ring of Teak Tree that surround the city . Ancient structures that were once part of a vibrant city can still be observed and appreciate . Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao is located south of the city on route 1129 . Heading north along the Mae Kong River from Chiang Sean ( Route 1290 ) will take you to the Golden Triangle and Hall of Opium.
For more information , please refer to the following sources.

        Kloom Rak Chiang Sean by Miti Yaprasit
–The group has junior guides that will show you around 10 historical site in the ancient city.

        Tesaban Tambon ChiangSean or Municipality of Chiang Sean sub – district- at the municipal office of Chiang Sean sub- district Chiang Sean district of Chiang Rai province tel.0 5377 7081 , fax 0 5377 7081 , 0 5377 8002
        Chiang Sean National Museum
- 702 phaholyothin Road Chiang Sean district of Chiang Rai province 57150 tel. 0 5377 7102 , Fax 0 5377 7128 . Business hours – Wednesday to Sunday 09:00 to 16:00 h. Entrance Fee – 30 Baht.
Source : Guide book, Vol. 5, No. 50, February 2006


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