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ARCHITECTURE - Lanna Kalae

ARCHITECTURE

Discover the stories behind the typical wooden Kalae which is on top of many Lanna traditional houses.

One of the first things visitors will notice in Chiang Mai is the beauty of local houses and temples which are unique to this region.

The traditional Northern (Lanna) house, or Ruen Kalae, is similar to the Thai (central) house in that it was originally constructed completely from teak wood, and built elevated from the ground to protect from flooding during the rainy season. What distinguishes it from central style is the “V” shaped, hand carved Kalae, which can be found on each side of the roof. Some people believe that the Kalae is meant to symbolize two birds used to scare away crows which were said to bring bad luck. It has also been said that it represents buffalo horns. Others say that, in the old times, during the Burmese occupation, Thai people were asked to put a Kalae on top of their roof to differentiate themselves from Burmese people. Whether you believe one explanation or the other, Kalaes are handcrafted structures that beautify houses and buildings in Northern Thailand, and they can be found in many different designs and styles.


 

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