iSee Wat Phra Singh

Chiang Mai’s oldest royal temple

Buddha Sihing

This is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai. At the beginning, this was not even a Buddhist temple but a ‘chedi’ (a Buddhist stupa containing relics) of King’s Phayu’s father, built in 1345, 49 years after Chiang Mai (the new city) was established. Before the arrival of the first Buddha image, the temple was originally named ‘Li Chiang’ which means ‘city market’. The first Buddha statue, Phra Buddha Sihing, was brought to the temple 20 years later in 1367, which gives the temple its name ‘Pra Singh’.

From Sri Lanka

The origin of the word 'Sihing' comes from the word ‘Sinhala’ – the name of Sri Lankan language. Legend has it that Phra Sihing buddha statue was cast in Sri Lanka back in 157AD. Then the King of Sukhothai Kingdom (central Thailand) brought it to Chiang Mai.

Thai New Year

Every year during the Songkran festival (Thai New Year on 13 April), the statue is taken from the temple all the way through the streets of Chiang Mai where spectators honour the statue by sprinkling water over it.

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