Wat Loi Kroh is located on Loi Kroh Road 65. It was previously known as Wat Roikoh or Hoikoh. The temple was constructed in the year 1456 (2000 B.E,) during the reign of King Kue Na, the 6th king of the Mengrai Dynasty. The Lan Na or Lanna Kingdom , also known as Lannathai, was an Indianized state centered in present-day Northern Thailand from the 13th to 18th centuries.
The Burmese king Bayinnaung invaded Lanna in 1558. King Mekuti of Lanna surrendered and from that time onwards to 1775 Lanna was a vassal state of the Burmese kingdom. The temple was deserted and it was not until migrants from the Chiang Saen area moved to the area that Wat Loi Kroh was restored to its former glory. The Viharn of Wat Loi Kroh dates back to 1487 (2031 B.E.).
Prince Kawila of Lampang ousted the Burmese from Chiang Mai in 1774 or 1775 after many years of bloody struggle. Chiang Mai was deserted and in ruins, as was Lamphun. Prince Kawila liberated Chiang Saen from the Burmese and went to Bangkok. He brought a large number of gifts and prisoners of war to Chao Phya Chakri, the first king of the Chakri dynasty of Siam, Rama I. The king appointed Prince Kawila to the rank of ruling Prince of Chiang Mai. In 1802, Rama I elevated Min Vachiraprakarn as King of Chiang Mai presiding over Lanna states (Principalities of Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Nan, and Phrae) but as a Siamese vassal.
The rule of Prince Kawila is known as the period of the reconstruction of Chiang Mai. He started repopulating Chiang Mai and Lamphun. This was the period of “gathering and putting vegetables into the basket and gathering and relocating people into the town” (เก็บผักใส่ซ้าเก็บข้าใส่เมือง). While reconstructing Chiang Mai and Lamphun, Prince Kawila and his troops went around the neighbouring city-states in the region persuading and coercing people to come and live in the two cities. In this way, Prince Kawila was able to spread his sovereignty over Chiang Tung, Chiang Rung, and various townships in Sibsong Panna, and a number of towns in the Salween valley.
In 1804, King Kawila retook Chiang Saen from the Konbaung dynasty. It is probably around that time that villagers from Ban Hom, a settlement near Chiang Saen moved to the Loi Kroh area and started reconstruction of the temple. Wat Loi Kroh features in several of our samlor tours.
We will update this blog regularly with new pictures and information.
Frans Betgem, 2017