Wat Phra Singh, located on the west side of Samlan Road, within the old city walls. The main entrance, guarded by two enormous dragon-like "lions," is directly opposite the end of Rajdamnern Road and the old name called 'Wat Lichiang.'
Wat Phra Singh has the most complete version of Lanna Chappel and is home to Phra Buddha Sihing, considered Chiang Mai's important and sacred Buddha mage.
The Wiharn Lai Kham in Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, is in the typical northern architectural style, with the roof extending like a bird's wings. The pediment is black lacquered and gilded.The stair-case in front is decorated with a naga balustrade
Wat Phra Singh is easy to visit as it is right in the center of Chiang Mai city. The mural paintings at its Laikum assembly hall have been restored; consequently the colors employed and the designs clearly show the quality of art of 100 years ago.
Painted by Jeck Seng, the murals of Wat Phra Singh depict the traditional way of life of the Lanna people. The story, however, is partly adapted from the Jataka episode of the literary classic Sang Thong, and the drawings partly use the "tailing" method apparent in the mural paintings of the Central Region.
The painting from Sang Thong Literature
The paintings show men and women with bare tops, the men with tattoos from their waists down to the knee and wearing loin cloths fashioned like underwear. The women wear cloths around their necks and long skirts with horizontal stripes with just a trace of red or black. The murals depict mrket scenes and men flirting with women, as well as overall everyday life.
One enters a spacious compound dotted with strikingly handsome buildings, in particular, the large wiharn, a magnificent structure built in 1518. A closer look reveals brilliantly carved and decorated panels at the front, glittering with coloured mirror chips and gilding, Behind this wiharn is a chedi, built by King Phraya Pa-Yu of Lanna Thai, the seventh King of the Mengrai dynasty, to house the ashes of King Khum Pu, his father. He then ordered a wat to be built on this site. In 1389 a revered Buddha image named Phra Buddha Sinsh, was brought from Chiangrai and housed in a specially built crypt. Such is the history of Thailand. One can see Chiangmai’s “original” in the wiharn; it is a fine work art.
Wat Pra Singh is located in the center of city at the intersection of Singharaj and Rajdamnern Road. The large jedee was built in 1345 by King Pha Yu to house the remains of his father King Kam Fu. A typical scripture respository is located at the temple as well. These repositories were designed to keep and protect the delicate sa or mulberry paper sheets used by monk and scribes to keep records and write down folklore. The high stucco-covered stone base of the repository protected the delicate scriptures from the rain, floods and pests.
The walls of the chapel are coverer with mural illustrating Lanna customs, dress, and scenes from daily life. The lovely Lai Kam chapel houses the revered Phra Singh Buddha image. Sadly, the head was stolen in 1922, and a reproduction is now seen.
Ho Trai, also worth a closer look is the charming library building, near the front gate built about 400 years ago.