The Wat Sri Chum is a large Burmese style temple in the town of Lampang comprising of a viharn, an ubosot and a chedi.
The name of the temple is derived from the Lanna word for Bodhi trees that surround the temple. Wat Sri Chum loosely translates to “temple of many Bodhi trees”. To Burmese people the temple is known as Nyaung Waign Kyaung, Nyaung being the Burmese word for Banyan or Bodhi tree.
The Wat Sri Chum was built by a rich Burmese teak trader towards the end of the 19th century. During that time Lampang was a center of the Thai teak logging business in which a great number of Burmese people were employed. They brought with them their own culture and architecture and built a number of Burmese style temples.
The temple complex is surrounded by walls; a large, elaborately decorated entrance gate topped with a Burmese Pyatthat roof gives entrance to the grounds. The Wat Sri Chum has been declared a national treasure by the Thai Fine Arts Department.
In 1901 skilled carpenters and craftsmen from the Burmese town of Mandalay built the Wat Sri Chum’s wooden viharn. Unfortunately, the building burnt down in 1992. It was rebuilt in brick and wood, trying to recreate the original from old photos. Two flights of steps lead to the yellow building with a Burmese style roof. On the right side of the structure are two ornately decorated multi tiered Pyatthat roofs topped with a hti, a spire shaped like an ornamental umbrella. Both exterior and interior of the viharn are richly decorated with intricate wood carvings.
Wooden columns elaborately decorated with gold and black lacquer support the roof. The viharn enshrines the principal Buddha image, a Burmese style image displaying the “Calling the Earth to witness” mudra.
The ubosot or ordination hall is enclosed by its own wall, its entrance guarded by a pair of golden Chinthe, mythological lions often found in Burmese temples. The ubosot, built in 1900, is a small structure in the shape of a mondop. It is topped with several Pyatthat, a Burmese style roof consisting of a number of ornately decorated receding tiers. Its interior contains murals depicting scenes from the Jataka tales, the stories that tell about the previous lives of the Buddha.
The temple’s chedi was built in 1949 in a mix of Burmese and Lanna styles. It enshrines relics of the Buddha obtained from Burma. Set on a square base with redented corners sits a golden chedi topped with a multi tiered hti, a finial in the shape of a ceremonial umbrella.
How to get to the Wat Sri Chum
The temple is located on 198 Thipawan road, a few hundred meters North of Highway 1 (Phaholyothin road), just South of the center of Lampang town. The most comfortable way to get there is by private taxi; most hotels in Chiang Mai or Lampang will be able to arrange one. Alternatively, charter a songthaew to get there.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The Wat Sri Chum opens daily during daylight hours. Admission is 20 Thai Baht per person.