Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

This temple is one of the most famous Buddhist shrines in the region. A visit is a must for all Buddhists who come to Chiang Mai. Legend has it that an especially holy relic was brought to Chiang Mai in 1371. To decide where it should be enshrined, it was placed on the back of an elephant, which promptly set out to climb the mountain. It finally came to rest and there the relic was buried. The first chedi was built over it and the temple has been continually expanded and embellished ever since.

Doi Suthep is a short seventeen kilometre drive from the city up a road that was first built in 1935. You then have to climb some two hundred steps up the naga stairway, or take a small tram to the temple. The view across Chiang Mai City and the river Ping valley is breathtaking and makes the exhausting climb worthwhile.

And then there is the temple itself. Cloisters painted with bright murals depicting the previous lives of the Buddha and filled with Buddha statues, enclose a marble floored area in the middle of which rises up a glorious golden chedi. The chedi is surrounded with a railing and at the four points of the compass are places where people can offer flowers, light joss sticks and apply small squares of gold leaf as they pray and make their wishes.

Doi Suthep can be seen from everywhere in Chiang Mai, it is a potent and powerful presence to which people often lift up their eyes for consolation in trouble or gratitude in happiness. You can take songteaw taxis up the mountain or join a tour.

 

Hua Kaew Road
053 295 003, 053 295 012
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