The old Mon city of Haripunchai, which is now known as Lamphun, was the northernmost city in the shadowy Mon kingdom that dominated the western part of present-day Thailand in the Dvaravati period (6-11th centuries). Perhaps its isolated northern location prevented it from falling to the
Khmer, and the city remained independent until 1281 when it finally fell to Chao Mangrai and became part of the Kingdom of Lan Na. Its isolation may also have contributed to the survival of the finest intact architectural relic of the former Mon period, the Mahapol Chedi at Wat Chamadevi.
The fate of Haripunchai became subsumed to that of Chiang Mai, falling under the dominion of the Burmese from the 16th to 18th centuries before becoming a part of the vassal Lanna state under Bangkok ruled by a brother of Chao Kavila. Lamphun later became a province with the reform of the Thai administration beginning at the end of the 19th century.
Though a provincial capital, Lamphun’s development has been slower than that of its nearby neighbor to the north and the city retains a more tranquil atmosphere. With architectural remnants and oval shape moats attesting to its more ancient origins, Lamphun is a must for the visitor with a historical interest in the region.
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