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History of Lamphun


Lamphun province used to be called the city of Haripoonchai. It is an ancient city of approximately 1,343 years. According to the legend of Yonok, Haripoonchai was built by a hermit called Wasuthep. Wasuthep asked sons of the Mengkha or the Mons to build this city in an area between the two rivers namely Kuang and Ping. Once the city was built, Wasuthep sent an emissary to invite the daughter of a Lawo king called ‘Chammadevi’ to become the first monarch of Haripoonchai. Her dynasty ruled Haripoonchai for several generations until the reign of Phraya Yiba in which the power was transferred to King Meng Rai the Great who united the northern kingdoms into Lanna Kingdom. Even though Lamphun was under the rule of Lanna, the city provided knowledge and heritage of arts and culture to the new rulers as can be seen in the city of Koomkam, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Hence Lamphun was still regarded as an important city for arts and culture of Lanna Kingdom until the reign of King Taksin Maharaj of Thonburi. Under the reign of King Taksin, Lamphun was annexed into the Thai kingdom yet retained its own rulers until the Ratanakosin period. After the revolution in 1932, after the last ruler of Lamphun, Major General Chao Chak Kham Kachornsak, passed away, Lamphun has become a province with a governor from the centre until today.

 “ The Ancient City of Haripoonchai”  the most prosperous and the oldest kingdom in the North may have its timeline divided into 5 categories namely;

  • Pre-historic Era
  • Primitive Historic Era
  • Lanna Era
  • Beginning of Ratanakosin Era
  • Revolution Era

“The Prehistoric Era”  refers to the period approximately 2,000-3,000 years. Ban Wang Hai archaeological site was among the first ancient communities that have been found to the east of Kuang river in the area of Wiang Yong Subdistrict, Mueang Lamphun district. Inhabitants of Ban Wang Hai were the first people who lived in this area before being influenced by the new form of culture that expanded and blended with the existing civilisation.

“ Primitive Historic Era”  refers to the 13th-19th Buddhist centuries. Haripoonchai was established with the influence of Dvaravati civilisation in the Chao Phraya river basin in the central part of modern day Thailand. The Dvaravati civilisation provided the model of a well-ordered civilisation including the administration, religion, culture, prosperous trades and economy. The kingdom of Dvaravati was ruled by a King who had to be a patronage of the religion. The people had firm faith in Buddhism. The first queen of the Kingdom was ‘Queen Chammadevi’.

“Lanna Era”  In the 19th-21st Buddhist centuries, King Mung Rai had moved the centre of administration to Chiang Mai and made Haripoonchai the centre of Buddhism. Buddhism thus settled firmly and had been maintained continuously in the land of Haripoonchai.

“Beginning of Ratanakosin Era”  The 24th-25th Buddhist centuries were the period of “Constant Evacuation”. It was the period when the Burmese were in control of the Lanna kingdom. There were frequent wars and the inhabitants fled cities into the jungles. The cities were abandoned. King Kavila of Chiang Mai appointed his younger brother, Phraya Buri Ratna (Kham Fun) as the ruler of Lamphun and brought the Yongs to build new houses and buildings in the city. These Yong people settled on the banks of Kuang, Ping and Nam Ta Rivers. The Yongs had brought with them their traditions, arts and various craftsmanship with them. During this period, the kingdom was peaceful.

“Revolution Era”  This was an era of great change. City-rulers were abolished and there were now governors appointed from the centre to rule Lamphun. Small towns and cities nearby were merged into a county. The commissioner was appointed to rule over a county and was directly accountable to Siam.