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Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai Overview

Considered as one of the older temples of Chiang Mai, Wat Phan Tao is a very beautiful temples. Built as a palace for Chao Mahawong the temple was converted into a monastery in the late 19th century. The teak wood viharn exude classic charm and was built when the teak trade was at its peak.

The orange fluttering flags, the opulently subtle teak pillars in the massive prayer hall, the gold image of the Buddha and the quiet garden and pond of the temple make it a serene experience. The temple grounds also have a kuti where monks reside.

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Highlights of Wat Phan Tao

Wat Phan Tao

The Wat Phan Tao is located next to the more popular Wat Chedi Luang. It is a perfect attraction to visit, especially during the crowded tourist season. Relatively peaceful this wooden temple consists of the main prayer hall on one side and the stupa on the other.

Golden Buddha at the Prayer Hall in Wat Phan Tao

The prayer hall or the viharn is made from dark teak and within the hall, a golden statue of the Buddha is found. There are 28 teak pillars supporting the viharn, and the three-tiered roof is designed as naga snakes. The entrance to the viharn is extremely beautiful with Lanna flower motifs carved. There is also a carving of a peacock and dog that remains from the time the king resided here.

Within the prayer hall, besides the Buddha statue, there is a casket containing the Buddhist texts.

Monks lighting candles at Wat Phan Tao on Makha Bucha Day

On the outside lies a beautiful garden and pond with a statue of the Buddha under the Bodhi tree. The garden area is often decorated on holidays and full moon nights and day. Many a time, monks sit beside the pond and chant prayers making the experience surreal and almost divine.

The stupa stands amidst the garden. Some of the other structures found within the temple complex include a white chedi, a bell tower, the monks living quarters or Kuti, lion statues styled according to Burmese architecture and a well-decorated gate that acts as the entrance to the temple grounds.

Wat Phan Tao Lantern ceremony

Loy Krathong 2019 at Wat Phan Tao

The Wat Phan Tao is an important location for the celebration of various Thai festivals. The temple area is decorated with flags on occasions such as Visakha Bucha, Makha Bucha, Songkran, Asahna Bucha, New Year’s Eve and the Loy Krathong or Yi Peng.

Celebration of Makha Bucha Day at Wat Phan Tao

The Loy Krathong or Yi Peng is the festival of lanterns and lights. On this occasion, lanterns are lit by the monks on the grounds and around the pond. Monks are seen meditating near the Buddha statue, and a moat separates visitors as lights are floated on the water. Sky lanterns are released in the sky at the end of the ceremony. It is a surreal experience for onlookers which usually begin around 7 in the evening. The lanterns signify the Buddhist belief of moving away from darkness towards light.

Candle Lit Ceremony at Wat Phan Tao on Visakha Bucha Day

On New Year's Day lanterns are released at the temple to symbolize the moving away of bad luck of the previous year. 

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