Thailand's first bamboo chedi - a new place of interest on the Chiang Rai leg.

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by Rod Page, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Early this year saw the consecration of a most interesting new chedi/pagoda/stupa (Buddhists are welcome to clarify which) just north of Chiang Rai on the soi to Doy Din Dong Pottery (itself well worth a visit). The chedi is the first such structure in Thailand to be constructed totally in bamboo. This is a common practice in Burma & I understand that outside a greatly esteemed bamboo Buddha built by a Burmese monk near Chiang Saen, there are no other such constructions in Thailand (but would stand corrected).

    A few photos set the stage -
    Monks in readiness for the ceremony:

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    The bamboo chedi:

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    The associated Wat:

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    As with the well-known Wat Rong Khun (Chiang Rai's white temple) this project was devised & brought to fruition by artists.

    The chedi was conceived by local, but internationally known potter, Somluk Pantiboon. Somluk told me that he had settled on using bamboo as in addition to being readily available it provided a mechanism whereby many in the village could be directly involved in the construction; traditional materials requiring a somewhat higher level of expertise. He also mentioned that at the time the cement base supporting the chedi had to be poured the local villagers were all heavily involved in the rice harvest - as a last resort he had to call on the police, the army & even the prison to ensure the base was laid.

    The interior of the associated Wat pictured above was hand-painted over a 6 month period by a local artist. The unique 'ngas' forming the entrance to the wat were themselves conceived & constructed by a local sculpter. I even witnessed art students from Chiang Rai University putting the final touches to the murals surrounding the wat.

    Projects such as these require generous benefactors & photographed below are the projects benefactors from Bangkok pictured with Somluk & his wife as well as offering certain relics to be placed for posterity within the chedi structure. They collected over some 80,000 relics from as far away as India for the ceremony:

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    The relics being prepared to be placed inside the chedi. Somluk tells me that the bamboo structure will stand for more than 100 years:

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    Everyone is joined to the ceremony:

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    No such ceremony would be complete without what was an outstanding & most enthusiastic group of local musicians:

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    A D-tracker & a GT Rider map - indispensable to see the real treasures of northern Thailand:

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  3. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    Excellent report Roderick. You do have a way of finding some interesting treasures in tucked away corners of the Kingdom.
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Roderick
    "the esteemed bamboo Buddha built by a Burmese monk near Chiang Saen" is Wat Wiang Kaew, the black bamboo Buddha.
     
  5. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Welcome back from down under.
    Directions to Wat Wiang Kaew?
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Wat Wiang Kaew is in Wiang Kaew village.
    Located on R1290 the Mae Sai - GT road.
    Wiang Kaew is on the GT Rider GT map, grid 1F, between Wiang Lao & Mae Ma villages.
    The temple is on the north side of the road "mid village."
     

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