Lampang has an huge number of architecturally impressive temples, with Wat Phra That Lampang Luang topping the list. The temple combines all the architectural marvels typical of the regional style and exhibits excellent Lanna craftsmanship.
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, in Amphoe Ko Kha, was built on a mound, with beautiful and perfect layout and design. The rail of the staircase leading to the elegant arched stucco entrance of the temple is decorated with a Naga relief. The open-sided Wiharn Laung is Thailand’s oldest standing wooden structure; it was built by master craftsmen and is decorated with exquisite murals. Inside is a gilded plinth, with the principle Buddha image called Phra Chao Lan Thong on top.
Lampang Luang Pagoda is the central structure of the temple and is believed to represent the Year of the Ox. Another sacred Buddha image is Phra Kaew Don Tow, enshrined inside Haw Phra Kaew.
Many heritage treasures can be seen all around Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Near Wiharn Laung is Wiharn Nam Taem, where a mural of a Bodhi tree was painted using golden watermark technique on the wall behind the Buddha statue. It is of incomparable beauty. Another exciting artifact shows the legend of a Lanna hero, Naan Thip Chang, whose traces of heroic deeds appear at various places in the temple, These include the bullet marks on the temple wall, at the spot where Naan Thip Chang sneaked in to successfully assassinate a Burmese Lord, Thao Maha Yot, who had conquered Lampang.
Visiting Wat Phra That Lampang Luang can bring much joy; it is an opportunity to pay tribute to the sacred Buddha images and also to witness Lanna’s ancient masterpieces - evidence of the former glory of this Northern kingdom. Every time I visit this temple, I feel the tranquility that fills the sacred cloisters and marvel at the exquisiteness of the architecture. This temple is the artistic heritage of the land, built centuries ago by people with a strong faith in religion and still standing today.
While there, don’t miss a chance to see the camera obscura image of the pagoda, inside Haw Phra Phutthabaht; the image is projected upside down onto a white cloth. Unfortunately only men are allowed to see the image in the Haw Phra Phutthabaht. But female visitors, please don’t be disappointed. You can view this phenomenon inside Wihan Phra Phut instead.
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is about 18 km from Lampang. You can take a taxi or truck-bus to Amphoe ko Kha.