Wat Lai Hin
Wat Sela Rattana Papphataram is also called Wai Lai Hin, Wat Lai Hin Luang, Wat Pa Hin, or Wat Mon Hin Kaew. It is located in Ko Kha District, Lampang. There is no evidence telling when it was built exactly but Dr. Hans Penth found the oldest ancient palm leaf manuscripts carrying Buddhist scriptures saying that it was in 1471. The legend tells that in 23 BE (around 18th century), during the era of Phra Maha Pa Kaesorn Punyo is the time of many constructions and renovations because he was a highly respected monk. It is told that when he went to Kengtung, he gave half of a coconut shell to a man and came back to Lampang without telling the man where he lived. Later on, the man came to find him at Wat Lai Hin and brought the shell to put together with the other half. He then had a very strong faith that he renovated and built the present vihara in 1683. The architecture in Wat Lai Hin is in Lanna style of Buddhist art consisting of a ground in the front which is used for activities and to plant Bodhi trees, a vihara, a pavilion, a sandlot, and a pagoda at the back of the vihara. The pagoda in Lanna style is believed to contain Buddha’s relics. The area was an imitation of Buddhist cosmology where the vihara is compared as Ausa-Dwipa, the pagoda as Mount Sumeru, and the sandlot as a river surrounding the mountain. The shrine is beautifully built at a small size. The building are made of bricks and cement decorated with stucco and surrounded with a low wall. The vihara has the features of Lampang’s craftsmen which are more delicate than those of Chiang Mai’s. The roof is slightly bent and has 3 layers. This kind of vihara is called Hang Pu meaning a body of a man. The interesting point is the decorative ornaments which were changed during the renovation into those of Central Thailand. The arched entrance of Wat Lai Hin is similar to that of Wat Lampang Luang but the decoration is slightly different. It is decorated with clay dolls. Apart from the buildings, a number of ancient scriptures and antiques are well preserved. Some are related the temple’s legend such as the tale of half of the coconut shell and Phra Maha Pa Kaesorn Punyo’s alms-bowl. The Fine Art Department registered Wat Lai Hin, including the Lanna style vihara, the pagoda, the ubosot, the low wall and the library, as a historic site on October 14th, 1980. Moreover, in 2007, it was also registered as a conserved building by The Association of Siamese Architects. To get to Wat Pratu Pong by car, from the centre of Lampang, cross Ratsada Phisek Bridge. Turn right at the junction near Ratsada Phisek Market. Drive straight for a short while. The temple is on the left.