Wat Phra That Doi Kham, also known as the Temple of the Golden Mountain, is a highly revered temple situated in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. It is believed that the temple dates back to the 7th century, making it one of the oldest temples in the region. The origin of Wat Phra That Doi Kham is rooted in the legend of the White Elephant. According to the legend, a white elephant carrying a relic of the Buddha climbed up the mountain and died at the spot where the temple now stands. The temple is known for its stunning architecture, intricate carvings, and beautiful views of the surrounding area.
Visiting Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Chiang Mai. The temple is located on top of a mountain, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning views. To reach the temple, visitors have to climb a long flight of stairs, which can be tiring but worth the effort. The temple complex is quite large, and visitors can spend hours exploring the various buildings, shrines, and statues. The temple is also home to a large golden Buddha statue, which is a popular spot for taking photos.
Overall, Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit, and a great way to experience the rich culture and history of Thailand. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor to the country, a trip to this stunning temple is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
History of Wat Phra That Doi Kham
Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a significant temple located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with a history that dates back more than 1,300 years. The monastery, which is situated on Doi Kham mountain, was established in 687 AD during the reign of Queen Chamadevi of the Haribunjaya Kingdom by her two sons.
The temple was originally built to house a holy relic, a hair of the Buddha, which was brought to the region by an Indian monk. Over the years, the temple has undergone several renovations and additions, including the construction of a large Chedi, which was added during the Lanna Kingdom.
During the 16th century, the temple was abandoned and fell into disrepair. However, in 1966, villagers discovered a hidden chamber containing many ancient Buddha images of various sizes, which prompted a revitalization of the temple.
Today, Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, offering stunning views of the surrounding area and a glimpse into the rich history of the region. Visitors can explore the temple’s many shrines, pagodas, and statues, including a large golden Buddha statue that stands at the entrance.
Overall, the history of Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a testament to the enduring spiritual significance of the temple, which has been a place of worship and pilgrimage for more than a millennium.
Location and Directions
Wat Phra That Doi Kham is located on Doi Kham Hill, which is one of the lower mountains at the base of Doi Suthep. It is about 15 km away from the old city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The temple is situated in a beautiful and peaceful area, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning views of the city.
To get to Wat Phra That Doi Kham, you can take a rented motorbike or a chartered rót daang. If you are driving, follow the signs for Royal Park Rajapruek from Rte 121 and go right at the roundabout before the entrance. Please be aware that the road leading up to the temple can be quite steep and winding, so it is important to drive carefully and be mindful of traffic.
If you are coming from Bangkok, you can take a flight to Chiang Mai International Airport, which is approximately 10 km away from the temple. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a tuk-tuk to get to the temple.
Once you arrive at the temple, there is a parking lot available for visitors. It is important to note that the parking lot can get quite busy, especially during peak tourist season, so it is advisable to arrive early to secure a spot. From the parking lot, you will need to walk up a staircase to get to the temple.
Overall, getting to Wat Phra That Doi Kham may require a bit of effort, but the stunning views and peaceful atmosphere make it well worth the journey.
Architecture and Design
The Wat Phra That Doi Kham is renowned for its beautiful architecture and religious significance. The temple is an excellent example of traditional Thai Buddhist architecture, with its intricate designs and attention to detail. The temple’s architecture is a reflection of the Buddhist philosophy of compassion, which is evident in every aspect of the temple’s design.
Chedi and Buddha Statues
The Chedi at Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a magnificent structure that dominates the temple’s skyline. The Chedi is a bell-shaped structure that is covered in gold leaf and is adorned with intricate designs. The Chedi is home to several Buddha statues, including the famous Luang Por Tun Jai, a 17-meter-high seated Buddha image. The Buddha statues at Wat Phra That Doi Kham are a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the artisans who created them.
Stucco Buddha and Naga
The Stucco Buddha and Naga at Wat Phra That Doi Kham are another example of the temple’s attention to detail. The Stucco Buddha is a beautiful statue that is covered in gold leaf and is surrounded by intricate designs. The Naga, a mythical serpent, is also present at the temple and is a symbol of protection.
Jasmine Garlands and Elephant Statues
Jasmine garlands are a common sight at Wat Phra That Doi Kham. The garlands are used as offerings to the Buddha statues and are a symbol of respect and devotion. The temple is also home to several elephant statues, which are a symbol of strength and wisdom in Thai culture.
Visitors to Wat Phra That Doi Kham should dress appropriately and be respectful of the temple’s religious significance. The temple is one of the oldest in the region and is a testament to the enduring nature of Buddhism. The temple’s design and architecture are a reflection of the compassion and wisdom that are central to the Buddhist philosophy.
Religious Significance and Practices
Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a sacred site of great religious and cultural significance in Chiang Mai. The temple has been a place of pilgrimage for countless devotees and visitors for over 1300 years. It is believed that the temple houses relics of the Buddha, making it an important site for Buddhists.
Praying and Merit
Visitors to Wat Phra That Doi Kham can participate in traditional Buddhist practices such as praying and making merit. It is common to see visitors lighting incense and candles, offering flowers, and making donations to the temple. These practices are believed to bring good luck and blessings.
Monks and Meditation
The temple is also home to a community of monks who practice meditation and offer guidance to visitors. Meditation is an important practice in Buddhism, and visitors can participate in meditation sessions led by the monks. These sessions provide a peaceful and introspective experience, and can be a great way to learn more about Buddhism.
Pu Sae and Ya Sae
One of the unique features of Wat Phra That Doi Kham is the presence of two giant statues, Pu Sae and Ya Sae. These statues are believed to bring good luck and blessings to those who visit the temple. Visitors can make offerings to the statues and take photos with them.
Lottery and Wishes
Another popular practice at Wat Phra That Doi Kham is participating in the temple’s lottery. Visitors can purchase lottery tickets and make a wish. If their ticket is chosen, their wish is believed to come true. This practice is a fun and unique way to participate in the temple’s traditions.
In summary, Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Buddhism and Thai culture. Visitors can participate in traditional practices such as praying and making merit, learn about meditation from the monks, and make a wish at the temple’s lottery. The presence of Pu Sae and Ya Sae adds a unique and fun element to the experience.
Legends and Folklore
Wat Phra That Doi Kham is steeped in legends and folklore that add to its mystique and charm. Here are a few of the most popular ones:
According to legend, a hermit once lived on the mountain where the temple now stands. One day, he discovered a relic of the Buddha, which he placed in a small stupa. Over time, the stupa grew larger and larger, until it became the impressive temple that we see today.
Another legend tells of two cannibals, Pu Sae and Ya Sae, who lived on the mountain. They were feared by the local people, who would leave offerings of food to appease them. One day, the Buddha visited the area and convinced the cannibals to give up their evil ways and become his followers. They were later enshrined at the temple as guardian spirits.
These legends and folklore add to the unique character of Wat Phra That Doi Kham. Visitors can learn more about them by speaking with the friendly monks or by taking a guided tour of the temple.
Attractions near Wat Phra That Doi Kham
Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a beautiful temple located in the hills outside of Chiang Mai. The temple is surrounded by stunning scenery, making it a popular destination for tourists. If you are planning a visit to Wat Phra That Doi Kham, there are several other attractions in the area that you should consider visiting. Here are some of the top attractions near Wat Phra That Doi Kham.
One of the best things to do near Wat Phra That Doi Kham is to take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. There are several viewpoints in the area that offer stunning panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Some of the most popular viewpoints near Wat Phra That Doi Kham include:
Doi Kham Viewpoint: This viewpoint is located just a short distance from Wat Phra That Doi Kham and offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains. There is a small fee to enter the viewpoint, but it is well worth it for the views.
Mon Cham Viewpoint: This viewpoint is located a bit further away from Wat Phra That Doi Kham, but it offers some of the most stunning views in the area. From the top of the hill, you can see all the way to the mountains in the distance.
Another popular attraction near Wat Phra That Doi Kham is the beautiful fields that surround the temple. These fields are filled with flowers and other plants, making them a popular destination for nature lovers. Some of the most popular fields near Wat Phra That Doi Kham include:
Royal Park Rajapruek: This park is located just a short distance from Wat Phra That Doi Kham and is home to a wide variety of plants and flowers. The park is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, and it is a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Mae Sa Valley: This valley is located a bit further away from Wat Phra That Doi Kham, but it is well worth the trip. The valley is home to several farms and orchards, and it is a great place to go for a hike or a bike ride.
In conclusion, there are many attractions near Wat Phra That Doi Kham that are worth visiting. Whether you are interested in taking in the stunning views or exploring the beautiful fields, there is something for everyone in this area. So if you are planning a trip to Chiang Mai, be sure to add Wat Phra That Doi Kham and its surrounding attractions to your itinerary.