Wat Doi Suthep
A trip to Chiang Mai (Thailand) would not be complete without visiting the spectacular Buddhist temple called Wat Doi Suthep. This temple can be seen from anywhere in the city of Chiang Mai as the site of the Temple is near the top of Suthep mountain (big hill).
Wat Doi Suthep is a very ancient place with history dating back more than 1200 years, the belief of the original inhabitants was that the souls of their ancestors resided on the hilltop. When Buddhism was embraced by the Thai people (Siamese) the Temple became the centre of the universe for the local people.
Built in the 14th century under the rule of king Geu Na the Temple attracts many pilgrims and tourists throughout the year, residing some 3500 feet above sea level. The temple is best visited on clear days when there is no cloud or hayes in the sky. You will see the spectacular view of Chiang Mai city and the Ping Valley.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
The temple is reached by road and near the car park you will find a beautiful famous staircase with 309 steps with a green dragon handrail, as well as a small cable car where you can ascend to the Temple, on the way you will be amazed by views of the Lanna style wat (temple) .
Once you reach this holy place, you will see several pavilions with the red tiled roofs, a junior bell tower, the shrine of Thao Mahaphrom (Bhrama) statue and other relics, as well as a Bohdi tree (Po in Thai) that is said to have been brought from India, where Lord Buddha spent many years under the tree in self-taught meditation.
Also in the main area, one enters cool cloisters surrounding a spectacular gold painted pagoda or chedi; which is one of the most sacred in all of Thailand.
As visitors journey through the rectangular shaped terrace around the main chapel pagoda, they will see 47 wall paintings and murals that illustrate the lives of Buddha and the tales of jataka (shadok) the tales of Bhuddha’s past lives before he reached the state of Nirvana.
Within the pavilion’s visitors are able to see the daily lives of novice monks, these monks are sent here to study the teachings of Lord Buddha and you will see them deep in prayer and meditation, the novice monks are also taught the same subjects taught in every other school in Thailand.
There is much more to see and do within the Temple, visitors will see many small bells where it is believed that good luck will come to the person who strikes the series of bells that you find here.
Visitors will also be amazed by the surrounding views and a small museum containing ancient relics and photographs. There is also a snack bar and souvenir shop to be found here.
Visitors to Wat Doi Suthep will be embraced by a sense of peace and well-being. The temple is believed to be the model for places of similar worship built throughout the hilltops of northern Thailand.