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Dispute Over Restoration of Kwan Phayaos Underwater Temple

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Dispute Over Restoration of Kwan Phayaos Underwater Temple

Plans to restore the temple underneath the waters of lake Phayao are being opposed by environmentalists.

The plans to restore the temple underneath the waters of Kwan Phayao have Thai officials and environmentalists divided.

Phayao Governor, Thanasek Asawanuwat initiated the restoration of the underwater temple in the hope that it would become a new tourist attraction for a small Phayao town.

kwan phayao Dispute Over Restoration of Kwan Phayaos Underwater Temple

Wat Tilokram is believed to have been built 500 years ago by King Tilokanart, the 10th king of the northern Mengrai dynasty. All that remains of the 15m x 35m temple, which was lost in 1939 to the area’s irrigation project; is four stone poles and a pile of debris. Wat Tilokram is one of more than 10 ancient sites lost to the project.

Culture Minister Khunying Khaisri Sriaroon did not like the idea of turning the temple into a tourist attraction and said that, ” As there was no way the restoration could be done easily, it was not worth it. It would also affect locals who relied on fishing to survive.”

The man-made lake was declared one of Thailand’s 61 most important wetland areas with global ecological significance by a Cabinet resolution on August 1, 2000.

kwan phayao temple Dispute Over Restoration of Kwan Phayaos Underwater Temple

Harnnarong Yaowalert, a member of the working group on science and natural resources of the National Economic and Social Development Advisory Council, said that the project violated Cabinet resolutions related to Kwan Phayao and would also damage the lake’s ecosystem. Yaowalert added that,

“To change the ecosystem of the lake, an environmental impact assessment had to be conducted first. Moreover, as the temple is more than 100 years old, the approval of the Fine Arts Department is needed”

Nevertheless, Governor Asawanuwat still dreams of pumping the water out and restoring the temple surrounded by a thick 150 m by 150 m wall of concrete, its former glory. Local fishermen could earn money by carrying tourists to visit the renovated temple, he said.

The Fisheries Department director-general, Jaranthada Karnasuta, said the department had not yet decided if it will allow the project to proceed. However they may consider allowing the development project to go ahead if it was proved to have minimal impact on the environment.

Festivals of Phayao Province

Sacrificial Combined Force 2324 Monument Fair (งานฉลองอนุสรณ์ผู้เสียสละพลเรือน ตำรวจ ทหาร 2324) is organized annually at the end of January until the beginning of February at the memorial near the Chiang Kham Airport, Tambon Chiang Ban, Amphoe Chiang Kham. It is a merit making ceremony dedicated to the civilians, policemen and soldiers, who passed away in their fighting with the communist terrorists in 1980-early 1981 (2523-early 2524 B.E.). Moreover, it is a charity fair to raise money to assist the descendants of the deceased. Other activities include games, performances, exhibitions and a fair consisting of various booths of the government authorities.

Winter and Red Cross Fair (งานฤดูหนาวและงานกาชาด) is organized at the end of December until the beginning of January every year at the ground near the Phayao Bus Terminal. In the event, there is a fair full of booths from the governmental and private authorities, contests, as well as, various games.

Phayao Jewelery Industry and Quality Products Fair (งานเปิดโลกอุตสาหกรรมอัญมณีและของดีเมืองพะเยา) takes place at the beginning of February every year at the Phayao Jewelery Centre, Tambon Mae Ka. It is a trade fair of jewelery and products of Phayao.

Cassie Flower Blooming Day (งานวันดอกคำใต้บาน) takes place on 14 February every year at the ground in front of the Dok Khamtai District Office. Activities are the handicraft contests and sales of souvenirs.

Pho khun Ngam Mueang Fair (งานบวงสรวงพ่อขุนงำเมือง) is organized on 5 March every year at the Pho khun Ngam Mueang Monument with a beautiful and magnificent procession of the worship offerings.

Thai Lue Cultural Festival (งานสืบสานตำนานไทลื้อ) happens at the beginning of March every year at the Wat Phrathat Sop Waen, Amphoe Chiang Kham, consisting of folk games, cultural performances, as well as, lifestyle of the Thai Lue people. In the event, people will dress up in the traditional costume. Also, there will be a cotton spinning demonstration, dessert making, Lue singing, Choeng or martial art dance, and Makon game.

Songkran Festival (Pi Mai Mueang) (งานประเพณีสงกรานต์-ปี๋ใหม่เมือง) is organized during 13-16 April every year behind the Mueang Phayao Municipality and in every district.

Pu Cha Phaya Lo Fair (Bucha Phra Lo) (ประเพณีปู่จาพญาลอ-บูชาพระลอ) is organized on 9 April every year at Wiang Lo Ancient Town, Ban Huai Ngio, Amphoe Chun, with an aim to pay respect to the Wiang Lo ancestors and to create folk consciousness to cherish and preserve the site. In the event, there are parades, light and sound presentations, a procession inviting the spirits of Wiang Lo’s past kings, Khan Tok dinner at night, as well as, cultural performances.

Phayao Lychee and Quality Products Fair (งานเทศกาลลิ้นจี่ และของดีเมืองพะเยา) takes place in May every year at the ground behind the Mueang Phayao Municipality. In the event, there are fairs offering lychees and quality products of Phayao and a lychee beauty pageant.

Sky Rocket Festival (งานทำบุญบ้องไฟ) is organized in June every year at Tambon Ang Thong, Amphoe Chiang Kham. In the festival, there is a traditional dance procession and sky rocket contest.

Candle Procession Festival (งานแห่เทียนพรรษา) takes place one day before the Buddhist Lent Day at the ground behind the municipality office and in every district. Beautifully engraved candles are brought to participate in the parade. Various cultural shows are performed, as well as, the contest for the most beautiful candle is organized. After the contest, all the candles are offered to the temples.

Hilltribe Traditional Festival (งานประเพณีชาวเขา) is organized in December every year at Tambon Rom Yen, Amphoe Chiang Kham. Traditional dances and games of the hill tribe people, which are a winter tradition, are performed.

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