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Cycling to Historic Places

Tour 3:
Tour to cycle the old city.

Next visit the various named gates and corners of the city wall and two important temples, but try to do it with the mind set of an ancient Lanna Thai. In the time of King Mengrai, Chiangmai's founder in the late 13th century, the people believed in city gods or protective spirits and this belief existed before construction of the city began. The Lanna Thai believed that the city had life, like human beings, and that it had a head, a navel and other human body parts. In keeping with this belief, the allotment of economic activities in the city or the division of places for the people to reside was dictated by the belief in the city gods or spirits, one of whom resided in each of the five gates and four corners of the city. In present daay Chiangmai there is an annual ceremony "Thamboon Muang" in honor of these spirits which takes place simultaneously at all nine locations.

1. Start your tour of 'ancient' Chiangmai at Wat Jedee (Chedi) Luang. With its enormous Jedee this temple could be seen to be modelled on Meru, the center of the Buddhist mythological universe, like the great Borobudur temple on Java. The temple was surrounded by eight lesser temples, which can be compared to the gates and corners of the city, on all sides. The temple was considered to be the 'head' of the city. Note that the temples, and gates and corners of the city, both number nine, a very auspicious number in Thai belief. All of the locations were laid down by the people's belief in these protective spirits. Wat Jedee Luang
2. Now move on to the Chang Phuak Gate and you will find yourself at the gate leading to the 'head' of the city. This gate was thought to be the 'might or power' of the city, and was believed to be an especially auspicious point. Chang Phuak Gate
3. Next go to the Seepoom City Corner or Wat Chaiseepoom and you will find yourself at what considered was the 'splendor or glory' of the city. This is the point at which the construction of Chiangmai began. Wat Chaiseepoom
4. Next visit the Tha Pae Gate. The present gate and fragment of crenated wall is a re-creation, based upon historical documents and designed by a former governor of Chiang Mai. The founders of the city considered this to be the 'base or fundament' of the city. Tha Pae Gate
5. Now go to the Kga Tumm City Corner and you will be at the point the ancient people considered to be 'diligence or industry' of the city. Kga Tumm Corner
6. Move on to the Chiangmai Gate and you are at the point thought to be the 'advisor' of the city. Chiangmai Gate
7. The next point to visit is the Suan Proong Gate, to the southwest. The bodies of the deceased could only be taken out of the walls of the city through this gate in order to transport them to the cremation ground. It was thought to be the 'inauspiciousness or unpropitiousness' of the city. (Notice that it is on the opposite side of the auspicious point in the city, the Chang Phuak Gate.) Suan Proong Gate
8. Next you will pass the Goo Rueng City Corner. In keeping with the inauspiciousness of this part of the city, this is the point where prisoners were detained in former times. Goo Tueng Corner
9. Move on to the Suan Dorg (Dawk) Gate and you will be at the point thought to the boriwan or 'retainers' of the city. Boriwan were retainers of attendants of royalty and nobility. Suan Dorg Gate
10. As you pass the Hua Rim City Corner you are at the point the old people considered the 'age' or the 'longevity' of the city. Hua rim City Corner
11. Complete your tour at Wat Sadue Muang, close to the Three Kings' Monument and you will find yourself at the 'navel' of the city. The name of the temple means literally the 'navel of the city.' Wat Sadue Muang

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