Wat Phra That Hariphunchai is a large and famous Buddhist temple located in the center of Lamphun in Northern Thailand. The complex’s numerous structures originate from different periods; while the temple is thought to date back to the 11th century, the central stupa originated in the 9th century.
An arched entrance gate guarded by giant statues of red lions gives way to the walled temple grounds. The complex features some unique architecture, some fine Buddha images, and two chedi in the typical Hariphunchai style. One of the ancient chedi, Chedi Suwan, is a Mon style brick spire standing 21 meters tall that dates back to the beginning of the 15th century. The newer Lanna style chedi, Phra Maha That, stands at 46 meters high and is covered with golden plates and flanked by a multi-tiered golden umbrella.
Other structures of note include the temple’s Ho Trai, the building where the ancient Buddhist scriptures are kept. This Lanna style scripture library is an elegant teak structure with a multi-tiered roof and intricately carved doors. It sits on top of a three-meter high red stone platform, which protects the scriptures from flooding.
Wat Phra That Hariphunchai is situated approximately 30 minutes’ drive south of Chiang Mai. It can be reached by hiring a car and driver, by motorcycle, or even by train by alighting at Lamphun Railway Station.