Chiang Mai Wats

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Took a 4.30pm bus from Sukhothia to reach Chiang Mai at about 10pm. Got a clean fan room at Moon Muang Golden Resort for 200 baht. Value for money. Next morning took a 2 wheeler on hire at 200 baht per day and saw the city. The 1st visit was Wat Suan Dok, located outside city wall. It has two main attractions. First is its big wooden Viharan that is built in the style of an open-sided pavillion that you to left of picture. Two are brilliant wihote Chedi that was built in the 14th century that you see in centre of picture. On right are a number of smaller chedis.

Entrance to the main viharan that houses an old Buddha image. Opposite this building is a monastery to train monks. Saw a number of monks in the complex.

500 year old Buddha image. This section covers all the Wats and visit to Wat Doi Suthep.

The plateform on which Buddha image is kept has images such as these.

The plateform on which the Buddha image is kept has a number of such images.

You see a number of small chedis under which the ashes of the nobles of Chiang Mai were buried. These reliquaries contain the relics of nine ruling Princes of Chiang Mai.

A close up view of one of the smaller chedis that contains the ashes of a Chiang Mai noble.

A few kms away is Wat Chet Yot. You see a large ancient Cheddi ie decorated with beautiful stucco statues that u shall see in the next picture. On the roof are 5 square chedis and 2 bell shaped chedis. For this reason it is called `Wat Jedyod` or temple of seven spires.

Outer wall is decorated with stucco statues as you can see. There is an assemly of deities who sit and sit with hands together forming a lotus shape.

It is inspired by temple at Bodh Gaya. You see Bodhi Tree that was brought from India and planted here.

You see entrance to Wat Chiang Man. It is an imposing complex and worth a visit. It is believed to date from 1296. The temple is noteworthy for its fine Chedi supported by rows of elephant buttresses and a beautiful chapel, while enshrined within are the ancient Buddha images of Phra Kaeo Khao, a tiny crystal statue thought to have the power to bring rain and Phra Sila Khao. It has two Viharans one of which you see in this picture.

Entrance to viharan one that houses an image of Buddha.

Those wearing shorts are not allowed inside most Buddha wats. This is the board for your benefit. When seeing wats better not to wear shoes but slip ons.

Close up of the Buddha image in viharan one.

Entrance to Viharan 2. The temples are decorated with stunning lacquer panels and wood carvings.

Close up of images in viharan two. You see Buddha, Ganesha bronze images. In the centre is the image of Phra Kaeo Khao that you shall see in the next picture. Walls have paintings from Buddha`s life.

Behind rods you see ancient Buddha image of Phra Kaeo Khao, a tiny crystal statue thought to have the power to bring rain. Clicked four pictures but this was the best picture I could get.

Side entrance of viharan two. Could not ascertain what these animals symbolise. Please help with information.

Board outside The Sacred Elephant encircled Stupa.

Elephants symbolise Sukhothai influence in Chiang Mai. A sacred hair relic of Buddha is inside the stupa. You see a large square Chedi from the 15th century. Its base is made up of over 15 stone elephants.

You see rear view of Wat Pan Tao. The Viharan that you see in the picture is made of beautiful teakwood panels and the gable above the front entrance is decorated with a big golden peacock image as you will see. This Wat is a masterpiece of woodwork.

This is the golden peacock image at the entrance. Note the wooden panels behind.

Buddha image inside the wat.

Entrance board of Wat Chedi Luang. Viharan is worth a look esp the paintings on inner walls that show scenes from the life of Buddha, most impressive is the tall Chedi that you will see.

You see entrance to the main viharan. Note the intricate work behind the Buddha image.

Hall inside the viharan. Amazing and stunning. Note how columns and ceilings are decorated. Buddha image right in front is full of gold strips that devotees stick on the image.

A close up of the image. See numerous sitting Buddha images in front of the main image. Very nice place to sit and pray.

Board outside Wat Phrasingh. It is considered to be the most important temple of Chiang Mai. It has a beautiful small Lanna style teakwood Ho Trai (library). The base of the library is decorated with lovely white stucco angels as you shall see. Also important is the Viharan (small sermon hall) directly behind the entrance and the Bot (ordination hall) to the left of Wat Phrasingh`s Chedi, as well as another wooden Bot directly behind the Viharan.

Board on Wat Phrasingh. In 1772 A.D. this wat received a major reconstruction under the auspicies of King Kavila B Pra Singh. At the entrance is Garuda, vehicle of Lord Vishnu that u can see in the Hindu symbols in Thailand section.

You see white stucco angels on the library building.

A view of the hall inside viharan with Buddha image in the centre.

A close up of the Buddha image.

In the centre is the wat`s Chedi. On its right is a small sermon hall ie behind the big viharan.

You see the Bot (ordination hall) to the left of the wat`s chedi. Note the work on viharan.

After that visited Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. It is 15kms from Chiang Mai and 3,520 feet above sea level. I had the scooter, was a great drive. Road is super. Since it was month of December is windy so wear a sweater. Had lovely strawberrys on reaching there. You can climb some 290 Naga flanked steps to Doi Suthep or take a lift. You see lift railing in picture clicked once I reached top of the hill.

Entrance to the main shrine. I first walked all around the shrine. As you enter the complex on the left is a Bodhi Tree whose picture you will see. The main shrine is dominated by a Golden Chedi which contains holy Buddha relics and attracts tourists from all over the country.

You see Bodhi Tree that was brought from India in 1943. Temple was built between 1355-1385 in the King Kuna period. He invited Phra Sumana Thera a priest from Sukhothai who brought a Buddha relic with him. King Kuna put these relics in a 10 metre high stupa in Doi Suthep. 2 viharans were made on the eastern side of the stupa later, metal royal umbrellas were installed.

You see the auspicious white elephant. Phaya Kocha Woramongkol is the auspicious elephant on whose back King Kuna got the holy relic and then vowed that wherever the elephant stops the relics would be placed, stupa made. That is how the location of the Doi Suthep stupa was decided.

Clock wise I walked around the shrine. You get a great view of the city. There is a coffee shop where enjoyed hot coffee in cold weather. There is a small viharan and a tree with beautiful flowers.

You see `Mana prayer wheel`.

There is a temple made in wood with intricate carvings dedicated to the elephant who brought the relics up. You can see elephants`s ivory tusks. I remember seeing large number of marble elephant images in Dilwara Temples India. The guide told me that the reason for so many elephants was a way to express gratitude to the elephants for bringing tons of marble needed for temple construction from the plains to Mount Abu. Similar reasoning exisits in Doi Suthep.

An image of an elephant outside the wat that you saw in the earlier picture. Now we enter the main shrine.

The chedi is in the centre. First walked around clockwise round the chedi. Next entered a room that has the following image of Buddha. Saw a monk who was giving mantras (prayers) to devotees to recite. Elephants`s ivory tasks in the centre.

As I walked saw devotees praying to the Sleeping Buddha.

This is an imitation of the famous Emerald Buddha that is in Bangkok.

I walked into one more viharan where prayed to these Buddha images. Note elephant`s tusks in ivory.

In the same viharan you see a respected monk who sprays holy water on devotees (men only).

Then this respected man ties a white thread round your hand. The thread is to ward off evil. A similar custom is followed in India.

A view of the holy Gold Chedi. The umbrella in front is for decoration only. There are 4 umbrellas one in each corner. Around the chedi is a small pathway. Saw Thais walk around on the pathway that surrounds the Gold Chedi. Like a parikrama that we have in India.

A closer view of the holy Gold Chedi.

The nine Buddhas is seen in many wats in Ayutthaya, Bangkok and now Chiang Mai. Thai people are very helpful and friendly.