One of the most beautiful temples in northern Thailand, Wat Phumin was founded in 1596 by the ruler of Nan. The wat was renovated in the mid-19th century and again in 1991 and is notable for its cross-shaped design, elaborate coffered ceiling, and carved doors and pillars. The highlight, however, is undoubtedly its murals. These were originally thought to have been painted by Thai Lue artists during the 19th-century renovation. But the apparent depiction of French troops, unknown in the area before the French annexation of part of Nan province in 1893, suggests a date in the mid-1890s. Three main themes can be picked out from the murals: the life of the Buddha, the jataka tale of his incarnation as Khatta Kumara, and scenes depicting everyday life in Nan.
Central Buddha Images
Four identical gilded Sukhothai images sit back-to-back facing the cardinal points.
Story of the Buddha Mural
The mural on the northern wall above the main door is particularly outstanding. Located at the very top of the image is the Buddha, and on a lower plane are his disciples. In the bottom half, Khatta Kumara and his friends are depicted on their way to a city with a palace, which Khatta later rebuilds after its destruction by snakes and birds.