Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wat Phra that Doi Suthep

The temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is certainly one of the most important temples in Chiang Mai. . The temple is located 15 km from the city of Chiang Mai and is a sacred site to many Thai people. From the temple impressive views of Chiang Mai can be seen and it remains a popular destination of foreign visitors.


Wat Phra That Doi Suthep The original founding of the temple remains a legend and there are a few varied versions. The temple is said to have been founded in 1383 when the first chedi was built. Over time the temple has expanded, and been made to look more extravagant with many more holy shrines added. A road to the temple was first built in 1935.

The Temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep grew and changed in the 600 years since its founding. The chedi and courtyard after its first big renovation in 1992. To reach the temple itself requires a climb up a naga staircase of 309 steps. Nowaday there's a funicular cable-car to the top of the temple.
From the car park you can see the stairs to Wat Doi Suthep, the temple base visitors can climb 309 steps for free to reach the pagodas or there is a tram. Entry to the temple on the tram costs 30 Thai baht for foreigners (or 50 baht if you would like a two-way tram ticket included) and is free for Thai nationals.

Inside the temple, visitors must take off their shoes. Visitors must be appropriately dressed. The original copper plated chedi is the most holy area of the temple grounds. Within the site are pagodas, statues, bells and shrines. Aspects of the Wat draw from both Buddhism and Hinduism. There is a model of the Emerald Buddha and a statue of the Hindu God Ganesh. Views of Chiang Mai can be seen on the other side of the temple.

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