Chiang Mai, Thailand, Travel

Chiang Mai: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple

June 14, 2012
Sawadee Krap!
*with announcer tone* Next station is Thailand.
Went with colleagues on a company trip to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
Living in Malaysia, so freaking near, yet this was my first ever visit to Thailand! 
Before this, my impression of Thailand was voodoo, black magic,ghost / horror movies, ah kua (transexual), tiger show. Watched Thai drama (with subtitles of course), like the soft tone of their language, but that’s it.
However, this tour really serves as an eye opener for me, especially those temples visits.
Thai temples are so beautiful in its details, delicate in its art, colourful yet remain its nobility.  
A sacred place that brings serenity to whoever that visits. 
The first temple that I went was Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple(วัดพระธาตุดอยสุเทพ).
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep (Thaiวัดพระธาตุดอยสุเทพ) is a Theravada Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai ProvinceThailand
The temple is often referred to as Doi Suthep although this is actually the name of the mountain it is located on. 

There were a few varied legends on the origin of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.
One of it was “White Elephant Legend“.

According to the legend,a Ceylonese monk, Sumana, came to spread Theravada Buddhism to the people of the Srisajjanalai and Sukothai kingdoms. 
He dreamt that the supreme being appeared before him and urged him to unearth the Buddha’s relic at the site of the pagoda’s ruins.
He took the relic to the king of Srisajjanalai who was delighted, and ordered that a special mansion be erected for the relic’s safekeeping. 
Sumana was then invited to show the relic to the king of Sukothai, but when no miracle followed the king doubted the authenticity of the relic and told Sumana to take it away with him. 
As a devoted Buddhist, King Gue Na sent a delegation to Sukothai to invite Sumana to Chiang Mai. 
The monk traveled to northern Thailand, stopping at Lumpoon, where he stayed for two years. 
On arrival in Chiang Mai, he stayed at Wat Boobparaam, or Wat Suan Dawg, and discussed the building of a sacred pagoda to house the relic. 
When he removed the relic from its packaging, he found that it had split into two pieces. 
They decided that one piece should be housed at Wat Suandawg, and the other would be housed in a special place.
Legend has it that the site of the temple was chosen in a most unusual way. 
King Geu Na ordered that a relic of the holy Buddha was strapped to the back of a sacred white elephant, and the beast was turned loose. 
After crashing its way up the densely forested mountainside, the elephant stopped just short of the summit of Doi Suthep, trumpeted its last breath and fell dead to the ground.
The king ordered that a golden pagoda be built where the elephant lay, and the Buddha relic to be housed therein. The wat was then constructed around the golden chedi.
The Golden Chedi

My photos did not justify how big is the temple. 
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is accessible by climbing 309 steps through Naga Staircase(bear in mind Batu Caves stairs was only 272 steps), or by cable car.  
( we took the fastest way indeed 😛 )
As they said, trip to Chiang Mai is not considered complete without a visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple.

Many stalls can be found at the base of Doi Suthep where we got our attention to the strawberries.
 Only RM2 for a cup!
colouful Thai paintings

These covered pick-up trucks have two long bench seats in the back, hence the word Songthaew comes in, means 2 rows in Thai.
We hopped on, can fit around 12 people at the same time.

More photos on my journey to Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai in next post.
Stay tuned!