Haripoonshai Temples in LamphunHaripoonshai was the first known organized civilization in the north of Thailand and played a central role in the Mon rule of the region from the 8th to the 13th centuries. When King Mengrai led his Thais into the Chiangmai area in the second haft of the 13th century, the Haripoonshai Kingdom of the Mons had already been a flourishing center of culture, art and religion for 600 years. As the Thai conquered the entire north, Haripoonshai became a priority area for King Mengrai and his successors and it was eventually incorporated into the Lanna Kingdom with its capital in Chiangmai.
The Thai adopted many of the Mon Buddhist art forms, particularly in architecture and statuary. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the structures and art of Haripoonshai showed marked signs of the merging of two cultures. Over the following centuries, the art, architecture and religion of the area became one. Today, the Mon Haripoonshai impact on northern Thai culture, particularly in its Buddhist aspects, is crucial to understanding and appreciating the architecture of northern Thailand.
The pure Haripoonshai features of these mediums can still be seen in some of the ancient temples built by Princess Jarmmathaewee 1,200 to 1,300 years ago. These are located in the city of Lamphun (Note: The word is actually pronounced as "Lumpoon"). The six temples are: Wat Jarmmathaewee, Wat Phrathart Haripoonshai, Wat Mahawan, Wat Phrayun, Wat Phrathuri, and Wat Phakhong. The first three of these are the most well-known, but all six date from the 8th and 9th centuries. Today, they are a marvel to view with their ancient jedees and statuary in sandstone and terra-cotta.
The three most outstanding examples of Mon architecture and art are Wat Jarmmathaewee, Wat Phrathart Haripoonshai, And Wat Mahawan. The first is located approximately 1 kilometer west of the city; the second is located between Inthayongyod Road, Lamphun's main road, and the Guang River on the east; and, the third is two blocks west of the Haripoonshai National Museum, itself across the street from Wat Phrathart Haripoonshai.
HOW TO GET THERELamphun is 26 kilometers south of Chiangmai. A visit to this city and ancient seat of the Mon Haripoonshai Kingdom is best made by car, giving you all the flexibility you might want to explore and discover other features of the city and the surrounding area. It can, however, be reached by Local air-conditioned Bus (either white or blue color) or Light Blue Truck by waiting at a bus stop any where along the Chiangmai-Lamphun Road. This road begins on the east side of the Ping River at the Nawarat Bridge in Chiangmai and continues on all the way to Lamphun. When you pass the very last of tall trees, you have left Chiangmai. Bus and Blue Truck fares are 12 Baht per person, one-way, and both drop you in Lamphun on Inthayongyod Road just in front of the Haripoonshai National Museum and across the street from Wat Phrathart Haripoonshai. Whether you travel by private car, bus or blue truck; it is very easy to visit all three temples in a morning or afternoon. Wat Jarmmathaewee can be reached by Tri-shaw at a fare of 20 Baht per person, one-way.
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