Tuesday, February 03, 2009

More Wats

We visited Wat Chiang Man early one morning to be greeted at the steps of the temple by a woman selling birds in cane baskets. She says she buys them in the market to sell to people to set free - perhaps this practise accounts for the amount of birdsong we hear in the city! We have the choice of half a dozen little sparrow type birds in a basket or a couple of turtle doves. We choose to set free the greater number and woosh off they went as soon as the binding round the basket was unlaced. As we walk around the Wat we see them flitting from tree to tree, it makes us feel good for ages, a little money well spent. We wonder what her arrangement with the monks is; perhaps she has a franchise from them, maybe she has to split the profit with them, the permutations are endless.

Wat Chiang Man is the oldest Wat in Chiang Mai. It was here that three kings, King Mengran (from Chiang Rai) King Ngam (from Payao) and King Ruang (from Sukhothai) built a royal residence, started building Wat Chiang Man and the 'new city' Chiang Mai. When they were finished they built the elephant stupa or chedi in place of the royal residence and enshrined a sacred hair relic of Buddah inside.

It was here we saw the jolliest monk. He had just finished something with a young baby brought along by his mother and grandmother, I can only compare it with a christening! I suppose a rite of passage ritual would be more pc!

Wat Bupparam - is close to our apartment, just at the end of our soi. It appears different to us from rest of the Wats we have seen, it has light delicate murals, a library and the main temple has two floors linked on the outside by fabulous nagas lined staircases on two sides. There are several small garden areas full of concrete statues of animals including Donald Duck eating a bowl of noodles with chopsticks.

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