The stupa at Wat Si Suphan in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai province collapsed yesterday, revealing ancient Buddhist relics hidden away for over 500 years. No one was injured and the school right next door was miraculously unharmed.
After several days of heavy rain, one of the oldest stupas (“chedi” in Thai) in Chiang Mai, located on Wua Lai Road in Muang district, collapsed at around 5pm. Wat Si Suphan was established in 1500, 522 years ago.
A few days ago, the chedi – taller than a three-storey building – began leaning to one side. Cracks were discovered at the base of the structure. After days of continuous rain, the chedi began leaning more and the area was sectioned off in anticipation of the chedis’ collapse.
The chedi is a “Phra That,” or a stupa said to hold ancient Buddhist relics. Under the rubble, numerous Buddha statues and other antiques were found, some made from glass and some carved from stone.
The abbot of Wat Si Suphan, Phra Kru Phittasutthikhun, told the media that the chedi was restored 40 years ago but began cracking again in recent years. Although the chedi is over 500 years old, it isn’t a registered ancient building, meaning there is no budget to take care of it, said the abbot. The abbot said he was devastated but glad that no one was hurt.
The Fine Arts Department will launch an investigation into the cause of the chedi’s collapse, added the abbot.
Today, Buddhist monks from the temple will undertake a Lanna-style ceremony to bid the chedi farewell.
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