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Photographer's Note

The northern Thai city of Chiang Mai has about 200 temples, nearly all of which warrant a visit by anyone interested in art history.

There are famous temples, and there are popular temples. Wat Chetawan located outside the old city, is unfortunately far from being on the list of the most popular temples to visit in Chiang Mai, as it certainly deserves a good visit.

Hidden behind buildings down Tha Pae road, east of the famous gate, Wat Chetawan, like the neighboring Wat Bupparam and Wat Mahawan temples, was originally built in the late nineteenth century outside the city walls and moat by Burmese teak merchants. As a result these temples incorporate several Burmese elements in their design.

The structure on the right in this picture is one of the three chedis (or stupas) which combines both (Burmese and Thai) type of architecture. Of the three impressive, heavily articulated chedis, two are decorated with fabulous beasts from Hindu mythology and all three are inlaid with gold and colored tiles which sparkle in the sun. A chedi contains Buddhist relics and is often used as a place of worship. The shape of the chedi represents the Buddha, crowned and sitting in meditation posture on a lion throne.

A Chatra (literally ‘umbrella’) is on the left and another version is attached at the top of the spire. These golden umbrellas represent protection and royalty.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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