Wat Ku Tao means "watermelon temple" in English. The wat got its unusual name from its atypical watermelon-shaped pagoda. The pagoda was built in 1613 in the shape of five guards of various sizes and adorned with coloured porcelain, which is meant to represent five Lord Buddhas. While some people think that the pagoda, or chedi, bears a resemblance to a stack of five pumpkins, others think it looks like five alms bowls arranged in ascending sizes.
According to legend, Ku Tao chedi contains the ashes of Prince Saravadee, the son of King Bureng Nong, who ruled Chiang Mai from 1579 to 1607. There is a lot of mystery and legend surrounding the origins of Wat Ku Tao. Some believe that the architectural style belongs to Yunnan, and suggest that invading Chinese soldiers may have been accountable for its production. Another theory is that the temple comes from the Burmese period of rule over Chiang Mai. Whatever the truth, Wat Ku Tao is an interesting structure and worth a visit.
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