Wat Pupia (or pboo pbia) is one of almost 20 temple sites uncovered from the ancient city of Wiang Kum Kam. Located three kilometres south of Chiang Mai in the Saraphi District, the official name of the temple has not been determined from historical records. Before excavation in 1985, only the temple's chedi was visible and largely intact. The rest had been covered by silt from past flooding of the nearby Ping River (Maenam Ping), on top of which had grown bushes and a longan tree.
Based on the design, Wat Pupia appears to have been built in either the 16th or 17th century. The chedi has a tall stepped base, on top of which sits a four-sided body with a decorative niche on each side for a Buddha. In front of the chedi is a viharn. Archaeologists have found evidence of two constructions, which means the first structure may have been destroyed and then rebuilt. On the right side is a rectangular rite pavilion. In front of it, in the foreground, is an octagonal structure with a detached altar.
Wat Pupia's current restoration was completed in 1986. However, surrounding land ownership issues have prevented further excavation work to confirm if there are any additional structures. This was a stop on SpiceRoads Cycle Tours' half-day Chiang Mai Highlights itinerary. (Brian K. Smith photo.)
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