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Lanna cultural legacy well-preserved in Chiang Mai

08-06-2013 09:35 BJT Special Report:Inside Tibet |

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By CCTV correspondent Tony Cheng

A temple fit for a king…. Wat Pan Tao, in the center of old Chiang Mai, built in 1395 in the residence of the fifth ruler of the Lanna Kingdom.

The seven hundred year old wooden structure is thought to be one of the best examples of Lanna architecture that remain today.

But Chiang Mai’s skyline has swamped the temples and Stupas that once dominated.

The occasional golden Chedi peeks out in a sea of characterless concrete.

Maintaining the Lanna legacy has fallen into the hands of a dedicated few who are working to protect the monuments that remain.

Even the city walls that stood firm against invading armies are falling in the face of economic development.

High on Doi Suthep mountain, a temple looks down on modern Chiang Mai… Its golden Chedi stands out like a shard of light in the thick jungle. They say you used to see a million rice fields below. But now they’ve been replaced by urban sprawl. One man who wants to change that is the Mayor.

Later this month he plans to introduce legislation to stop new developments in some areas…and ensures that any new buildings that are approved are built in the Lanna style.

Conservation is now seen as fundamental to any development plan… And while Chiang Mai has embraced the changes, some think the time has come to celebrate the unique history and individual heritage of this city.

It is the temples and spiritual tranquility that attracts visitors to Chiang Mai.

But the city has become a victim of its own success. Now the challenge is to protect those qualities for many generations to come.

 

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CCTV.com

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