Culture Ministry seeks swift repairs to collapsed pagoda

culture ministry seeks swift repairs to collapsed pagoda

A damaged old pagoda is seen here at Wat Sri Suphan in Chiang Mai’s Muang district. A team from the Fine Arts Department has since retrieved religious items that were housed in the structure that collapsed on Thursday. (Photo: Public Relations Department)

The Ministry of Culture has instructed the Fine Arts Department to expedite an inspection in order to restore a 500-year-old pagoda at a temple in Chiang Mai which devastatingly collapsed due to heavy rain on Thursday evening.

The incident took place at Wat Sri Suphan in Muang district. The temple was built in the Lanna period (13th-15th centuries) and the Fine Arts Department is coordinating with local agencies to secure the area. No casualties were reported.

Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome on Friday revealed that an initial inspection showed that the collapse of the external surface of the golden pagoda had damaged the inner brick core of the structure.

In addition, authorities have found many Buddhist artefacts, such as bronze, glass Buddha statues among relics hidden inside the temple that had yet to be registered.

The 7th Regional Office Fine Arts in Chiang Mai is currently registering the discovered artefacts and will give them to the temple for conservation.

The office will study the structure of the pagoda and will liaise with temple chiefs to draft guidelines for its restoration, Mr Itthiphol said.

The office director Nattaya Poosri said the experts were unable to determine the exact age of the ancient pagoda as it has been renovated in 1975. The reason for the collapse of the pagoda may be attributed to the weight of rainwater that had collected in cracks on the pagoda surface itself, she said.