On the Road to Hariphunchai

On the Road to Hariphunchai

A photographic book project by George Mann, on the current Province and Capital City of Lamphun, once known as the Kingdom of Hariphunchai.

Traveling from Chiang Mai to Hariphunchai. 

The modern day city of Lamphun (where the old capital of Hariphunchai is located) is only a little over 30 Kilometres from Chiang Mai. I have traveled there by train, bus, rental car, and bicycle. Although it only takes a few hours by bicycle to travel down the old Chiang Mai – Lamphun Road, it is probably best to use some form of motorised transport. Especially if you are not used to the local climate (or local drivers).

Since there is no public transport system in the town of Lamphun, having access to a bicycle while you are there is not a bad idea though. There are a few bicycle rental places and some hotels have bicycles available for their guests. If you have your own bike or have rented one in Chiang Mai, the easiest way to get there without breaking a sweat, is to use the local (slow but in-expensive and charming) train service.

Wat Prathat Hariphunchai.

Wat Prathat Hariphunchai is a fairly large temple compound with many buildings, some of them date back to the 13th Century CE. Previous to being used as a temple, the site was used as the Royal Palace of Queen Chama Devi (founder and first ruler of Hariphunchai) and her successors.

The temple is a very important Buddhist Pilgrimage destination and you will observe monks and other individual and small groups of worshippers circling the large golden Chedi, making offerings at all the shrines surrounding the Chedi.

The People of Hariphunchai

Wat Phrathat Hariphunchai is not only the most important Buddhist temple in Lamphun, but also serves as the community centre for virtually every holiday, festival and other major activities throughout the year.

Wat Chama Devi

Wat Chama Devi is best known for the beautiful 13th Century CE four sided Mon style Chedi, that is believed to contain the ashes of Queen Chama Devi (7th Century CE) of Hariphunchai. There is also a smaller eight sided Chedi that was built in the same century. Other buildings in the large temple compound are much more modern.The main Viharn (prayer hall) has an interesting series of murals depicting the Legend of Queen Chama Devi.

Chama Devi Monument

The Chama Devi Monument is a very popular park for local people. The area is often filled with people making offerings and reciting prayers, to the founder of the Hariphunchai Kingdom. The Queen was (and still is) revered for her legendary beauty and strength.

Wat Phra Yuen

Wat Phra Yuen is believed to have been built by Queen Chama Devi in the 7th Century and was previously known as Wat Aranyikaram. It is considered the oldest temple site in Lamphun. There are a fairly large number of murals depicting Queen Chama Devi’s life. Including the large mural on the back wall of the Viharn with the Chedi seen below, in the background.

Ku Chang – Ku Ma

The burial Chedis and shrine for the war elephant and horse of Queen Chama Devi.

Join me on a few days journey to the Ancient Kingdom of Hariphunchai.

Location: The provincial capital city of Lamphun (originally known as Hariphunchai) is located about 30 kilometres south of the city of Chiang Mai.

Main Attractions: Old Walled City of Hariphunchai and Wat Phrathat Hariphunchai, built on the site of the 7th Century Palace of Queen Chamadevi. There are also many other historic sites and temples dating back to the 6th Century CE.

Lamphun is also well known throughout South East Asia for the quality of their Lamyai fruit. The local variation of Northern Thai Pork Noodle Soup (Kwayteow Moo Toon Lamyai), contains Lamyai fruit in the soup broth.

I am always available to put together a private photo expedition for individual and small groups of photographers. Please contact me for details.

Please contact George Mann for more information – george@georgemannphoto.com

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