Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Chiang Mai Temple
After our lunch we headed up Doi Suthep Mountain to visit the Wat Phara That. There is a legend as to why this Temple was placed at the top of this mountain *(see at end). This is a more traditional temple when compared to the White Temple that we visited in Chiang Rai. It is generally accepted that the original Budist Stupa (Chedi) was built in 1383 and has expanded over the years to be the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep of today...
At the base of the Temple there are shops and buildings and many Buddhist statues ...
We chose to take the cable car :)
When you arrive at the top you are immediately struck by the beauty of the golden pagodas in Lanna Architecture.
the Gold Chedi is at the center where many Buddhist pray ...
And some come to viewand learn, like ourselves ... we are a party of four at this point because the girls are at the Elephant Sanctuary.
It is surrounded with many pagodas,statues, bells a museum and shrines.
And it also includes statues of the Hindu God of Ganesh ...
A replica of the Emerald Budda
Murals depicting the many lives of Buddha are painted all around the corridor surrounding the Chedi
Once again we could choose to go down the 309 stairs ...
but took the cable car ... What would you expect of an old poop? :)
On the street at the base of the temple white pigeons were everywhere ... symbolic of peace, I'm thinking.
From the very old to the very new ... we spent the night in the Chiang Mai Holiday Inn ... Really?
Our room was huge and modern ... a contrast to the local accomodations
And the shower had a door on it :) Nice for a change only because that is what we are used to. I found, over time, that the open showers were quite nice.
So, Good Night Chiang Mai ... note they have big gas stations everywhere too. That needs to change as we adopt clean energy, right?
*White elephant legend
According to legend, a monk named Sumanathera from the Sukhothai Kingdom had a dream. In this vision he was told to go to Pang Cha and look for a relic. Sumanathera ventured to Pang Cha and found a bone. Many claim it was Gautama Buddha's shoulder bone. The relic displayed magical powers: it glowed, it was able to vanish, it could move and replicate itself. Sumanathera took the relic to King Dhammaraja, who ruled Sukhothai. The eager Dhammaraja made offerings and hosted a ceremony when Sumanathera arrived. However, the relic displayed no abnormal characteristics, and the king, doubtful of the relic's authenticity, told Sumanathera to keep it.
King Nu Naone of Lan Na heard of the relic and bade the monk to bring it to him. In 1368, with Dharmmaraja's permission, Sumanathera took the relic to what is now Lamphun, in northern Thailand. Once there, the relic broke into two pieces. The smaller piece was enshrined at a temple in Suandok. The other piece was placed by the king on the back of a white elephant which was released into the jungle. The elephant is said to have climbed up Doi Suthep, at that time called Doi Aoy Chang (Sugar Elephant Mountain), stopped, trumpeted three times, then dropped dead. This was interpreted as an omen. King Nu Naone immediately ordered the construction of a temple at the site.
(also linked to ...)