Thailand, Chiang Mai – Wat Phra Doi That Suthep

Wat Phra Doi That Suthep is a Buddhist temple and is considered to be one of the most sacred pilgrim locations in Thailand. It is located about 9 miles (15 kilometers) outside of Chiang Mai at an elevation of 3,520 ft (1,073 meters) on the Doi Suthep mountain. The temple is often referred to as Doi Suthep. An interesting note is the translation of the name of this temple. “Wat” means temple, “Phra” refers to a Buhhda image, “That” means relic. The legend of the origin of the temple is about a monk, Sumanathera, who had a dream. In that dream, he was told to go to Pang Cha and look for a relic. Sumanathera traveled to Pang Cha where he found a bone. Many believed that this bone was Buddha’s shoulder bone. As with most legends, this bone had magic powers – it glowed, was able to disappear and reappear, and could move. As a good subject and monk, Sumanathera took the bone to his King – King Dhammaraja who was king of Skuhoithai. The king received the monk, even had a special ceremony when he arrived. However, the bone didn’t display any of the special magic that Sumanathera had seen. This caused the king to doubt that it was the bone of Buddha and told the monk to keep it.

Now, the King of Lan Na, King Nu Naone heard about the relic and asked Sumanathera to bring it to him. With King Dhammaraja’s blessings, the monk took the bone to King Nu Naone in 1368. When Sumanathera arrived and presented the relic, it broke into two pieces. One piece of the bone was enshrined in the Wat Suan Dok in the town of Lamphun, south of Chiang Mai. The king placed the other piece of the bone on a white elephant. That elephant climbed up the mountain Doi Suthep, trumpeted three times and then collapsed dead. It was believed to be an omen and King Nu Naone ordered that a temple be built where the elephant died.

The statue at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep honoring the white elephant from the legend telling the origin of the temple.
This is the original gold plated stupa/chedi where the relic of Buddha’s shoulder bone is placed. This is considered the most holy area of the temple grounds.

Actually, to visit the stupa you must climb 309 steps, protected by a gorgeous Naga statue.

This sweet little girl was at the beginning of the stairway, I believe, welcoming visitors and accepting tips for photos taken. How could you not take her photo and give her a tip? She was so darn cute!
The Naga protected stairway leading to the temple. If you are unable to walk the stairs, there is a tram that one can take.
I believe that the Naga statue was made out of porcelain.
The top of the stairway to the temple.
This area is the outer terrace and you pass through this structure to get to the inner terrace where the stupa is located.
The inner terrace. The holiest of places on the grounds of the temple. One must dress modestly and leave your shoes in designated areas on the outer terrace. There were many pagodas and various statues of Buddha.

Here are some of my photos of the inner terrace –

This green glass Buddha is a replica of the Emerald Buddha that is found in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew), in the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand.
I love the bells with messages…request to Buddha? Wishes to loved ones? Your guess is as good as mine.

The following pictures are from the outer terrace.

The details in this carving were amazing! Such a work of art!
This is a close-up of the carving so you can see the intricate details.
Notice the gold stupa to the right of this picture. It is in the inner terrace area.
From this platform, you can look down over the city of Chiang Mai.
You can see some of Chiang Mai through the clouds. It was a very cloudy day and my photos prove it. The natural light was so flat, the pictures didn’t come out very good.

Well, that is about all of my pictures and the tour of Wat Phra Doi That Suthep.

Until my next post, I wish you sparkles, joy, and many blessings! āœØšŸŽ‰šŸ™

4 thoughts on “Thailand, Chiang Mai – Wat Phra Doi That Suthep

    • Hello Laura, I am so sorry but I don’t know what building the image was taken. According to my notes, it was on the inner terrace the holiest of places on the temple grounds. I am sorry that I cannot answer your question in better detail.

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