Phra That Doi Suthep Temple in Chaing Mai, Thailand

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple was built in the thirteenth century during the reign of King Kue Na Thammikarat, the sixth King of Chiang Mai, to house the Buddha’s relics which the king had brought from Si Satchanalai. The temple is a second-class royal temple of the Ratcha Wora Viharn type. It has been a place of worship of the city of Chiang Mai since its former times. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, regconised by Thai people as one of the country’s highly sacred temples, has a significant position either in terms of history or as a tourist attraction. The temple is located on the top of Doi Suthep. It is founded 14 km to the west of Chiang Mai City, 1,053 metres above sea level. The temple is in Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Mueng, Chaing Mai Province. It was believed that Doi Suthep was the residence of a hermit named ‘Sudheva’, which is Pali for ‘a benevolent god’, or ‘Suthep’ in Thai. Doi Suthep is thus named after the hermit.

The way up to the Phra That is a cement staircase decorated with seven-headed Naga. Inside the temple is a Chiang Saen-style chedi. Following stylised Lanna art, the bell-shaped stupa is covered with two layers of gold leaf and has a high octagon base. Situated to the west of Chiang Mai, visitors can clearly admire the panoramic view of the city from the temple. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is held as one of the most important temples in the province. It might as well be said that a visit to Chiang Mai cannot be completed without a stop to pay a sign of respect to Phra That Doi Suthep.

Once a year, The Tiew Kuen Doi Festival will be held at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep on the night before Wisakha Bucha Day. There will be a procession carrying water to be sprinkled over the Phra That for a blessing. A number of monks, novice and Buddhists from different communities will join the march towards Doi Suthep. This is because people believe that paying respect and asking for a blessing at Phra That Doi Suthep will bring them success and fulfillment, as well as protection and guidance from all obstacles in life.

Categories: Asia, Travel

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