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Wat Phuak Chang (วัดพวกช้าง)

Thai. Temple of a Crowd of Elephants’. Name of a small Buddhist temple in the tambon Haiya (หายยา) in Chiang Mai's city centre, just outside the ancient city walls, directly opposite from the southeastern corner of the city moat. It was reportedly built in 1497 AD, in the reign of Phaya Meuang Kaew (1495-1526 AD), and was renovated several times, including in the periods when Chiang Mai was a vassal under Burma and under Rattanakosin. The result is a mixture of Thai-Lan Na and Burmese architectural styles, such as the staircases adorned with mango-shaped ornaments (fig.). Previously, this temple was known as Wat Bua Ngun (วัดบัวเงิน), i.e. Silver Lotus Temple and Wat Jok Pok (วัดจอกปอก), i.e. Temple of the Unwrapped Drinking Glass. The current name indicates that in the past there were many elephants in the area of this temple, likely domesticated elephants with their mahouts living in the neighbourhood in order to tend their animals that were kept outside the city walls. The temple compound has a wihaan with a naga staircase, and a pagoda with a rectangular base that has red niches that contain gilded Buddha images and which is topped with a bell-shaped chedi, as well as with small statues of Manuthiha, i.e. a mythological, sphinx-like creature from Burma, with a half-man half-lion body (fig.), that surround the top of the base. At the side of this pagoda is a statue of a Burmese style lion, known as a chintha, and of a White Elephant. The compound also has an attractive pavilion, known in Thai as Sala Baat (ศาลาบาตร) and in English referred to as the Merit Pavilion, which contains a Buddha image seated in the maravijaya pose, and which is flanked by bas-reliefs of thevada, some wooden tung kradahng (fig.), and a pair of phum dokmai (fig.), each enclosed with u-ba and topped by a lotus bud. See MAP.