Wat Bandensali Si Mueang Kaen Temple also known as Wat Banden and formerly as Wat Ribunrueang is located in Inthakhin Subdistrict, Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes, the temple stands prominently on top of a small hill and can be easily seen afar. Under the small hill is a sacred cave the villagers pay their respect to; as a result, it is named “Wat Banden”. In addition, on the temple’s ground there are lots of sacred fig trees, or Sali Trees, of various sizes. Because the trees’ name, Sali, is considered auspicious, the temple was named after them. Apart from that, since it is located in the area of an ancient town known as “Mueang Kaen”, the locals officially call it “Wat Bandensali Si Mueang Kaen”.
In 1804, Kruba Thueang Natsilo, a former abbot, had the temple renovated. It then became more exquisite with Lanna-style architecture. The abbot intended to turn it into a beautiful place of worship with religious teachings. This could attract more people to the temple so that they would have a chance to learn about the religion. He also wanted to make the temple a place where people can find their peace of mind rather than a venue for religious rituals.
It is also a place for worshipping the stupas of the twelve Chinese zodiacs. Its major structures include Ubosot, the main hall; Ho Trai, the scripture hall; the drum tower; Wihan Sao Inthakhin, the sacred pillar shrine; the Lanna-style teak wood Kuti, a monk’s house; the Wihan and the stupa. As Kruba Thueang was a good and well-behaved monk, people respected him and make donations to support him turning the temple into an exquisite and magnificent place of worship. Not so long after, it became widely known.
How to get there:
- To get to the temple, take the same route as Mae Ngat Dam, the Chiang Mai-Samoeng
- or Chiang Mai-Fang tourist route. Drive along the highway no. 107, past the Mae Malai Intersection until you reach Mae Taeng Town. Turn right onto the route to Mae Ngat Dam. Drive along the road. After reaching a stadium, you will see Wat Banden’s sign on the left side. Follow the sign, drive along the road about a kilometre and you will reach Wat Bandensali Si Mueang Kaen.
- The temple is 30 kilometres away from the city of Chiang Mai.