City authorities have confirmed the dates for the 2019 Inthakin Festival in Chiang Mai. The opening rites will be staged on the 30th May. The festival in honour of the City Pillar will then run for seven nights and finish on the 6th June. This gives city residents and visitors plenty of time to make merit and ensure the wellbeing of Chiang Mai for the coming year.
Most Thai cities have a City Pillar. Legend has it that they safeguard the cities and fend off any disasters. Chiang Mai’s City Pillar is said to date from the city’s foundation in 1296. The pillar has been housed at the Old City’s Wat Chedi Luang Temple for more than 200 years and is usually kept under lock and key in its own purpose-built shrine.
For the duration of Inthakin, visitors to the temple carry out a merit-making rite known as Tam Bun Khan Dok. This involves placing small bunches of flowers with candles and joss-sticks outside the City Pillar Shrine. Festivalgoers can also make merit by dropping 25 and 50 satang coins in the 108 vases arranged in lines at the temple.
Although people do make merit during the day, evenings are best. The heat of the day has usually subsided. Vendors are on hand and sell refreshing drinks and a range of Thailand’s tasty snacks. The front entrance to Wat Chedi Luang is on Prapokkloa Road. The temple is also noted for its 60-meter-high chedi. This is lit up at night for the Inthakin Festival celebrations and is an awesome sight.