Monday, 2 August 2010

Wat Chetawan, Chiang Mai

The secular modern world intermingles with the sacred one as a young model tries to grab the chattra that crowns one of the three chedi of Wat Chetawan, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
This temple, like neighbouring Wat Bupparam and Wat Mahawan, 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 and decoration. At Wat Chetawan the three chedi (the Thai word for stupa) in particular were built along classical Burmese lines: a square base of several recessed terraces followed by one or two octagonal terraces upon which sits a circular bell-shaped dome that extends upward into a conical, ringed spire. Only the four staircases, one on each side, that would give access to the base of the dome are missing.

The three chedi are topped by a chattra or multi-layered umbrella, which symbolizes royalty or honour.

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