8 Temples out of over 300 in Chiangmai

Taxi Chiangmai and Private Tour by Patrick 081 617 2116 Oversea Call + 66 81 617 2116 E-mail:  neomart@gmail.com

 The city is home to over 300 temples dating as far back as the 13th century. Within half an hour's drive in 
every direction there are also museums, ancient ruins, national parks, waterfalls, mountain trails, and 
other unique and beautiful attractions. It is almost impossible to tire of its multitude of eclectic delights as 
Chiang Mai offers something for everyone from nature lovers, culture vultures, adrenalin junkies 
to those who just wish to lie back in a luxurious spa and be pampered.

Parts of Temples in Chiangmai per below information from Chiangmai News Online

Wat Bup Pha Ram 
A temple in the heart of Chiang Mai associated with many historic miracles. 

Situated on Tha Pae Road, one of the main streets in the centre of Chiang Mai, this temple was founded by King Muan Keow in 1497. Most of the buildings are, however, very recent. The main hall was only completed in 1996 after ten years of work - it can, perhaps, be called an interesting example of modern Buddhist construction and decoration. Other buildings in Burmese and Lanna style fill the compound - the large viharn may date back two hundred years.

There is a very large white coloured teak Buddha image which some claim to be the biggest in the world - its conception is thought to be connected with a vision of King Naresuan in the late sixteenth century. Old chronicles associate this temple with many miracles. 

Wat Chedi Luang 
One of the most important temples in Chiang Mai. A must visit.

This was once an enormous temple built at the end of the fourteenth century by King Saeng Muang Ma to contain the ashes of his father. It was enlarged in the next century and the height of the main chedi was said to be ninety meters. It was severely damaged in the great earthquake of 1545 and has only recently been imaginatively restored.

The pleasant and well-kept grounds right in the centre of the city are home to several other buildings including the City Pillar (Inthakhin), a Buddhist University and a variety of Buddha statues. There is also an enormous yang tree. Every evening at six o'clock stray dogs are fed in the temple grounds. Wat Chedi Luang is home to many of the most important city and religious ceremonies. In the city centre, it is easy to wander in and explore the temple on your own, but for culture vultures it is recommended to join a temple tour 

Wat Jet Yod 
Home of the Eighth World Buddhis Council held in 1477. 

King Tilokarat built Wat Jet Yod in 1477 when he hosted the Eighth World Buddhist Council which was convened to purify the scriptures - the results of the conference have unfortunately been lost.

The temple is unlike any other in Chiang Mai, being of a peculiar Indian design. The seven chedi (Jet Yod) stand on a substantial laterite base in which there is an arched cave containing a Buddha image. The most interesting feature of the temple is the series of seventy, much damaged, but still very beautiful, stucco celestial beings that decorate the walls of the base. Their intricate clothes and jewellery and their lovely smiling faces are Lanna art at its finest.

The grounds of the temple are tranquil and spacious, shaded by many old trees. There are three other chedi in the compound one of which contains the remains of King Tilokarat.

The temple is close to the city centre but for those who wish there are also tours available.

Wat Phra Singh 
Famous for its fine examples of Lanna art.
This temple, situated in the heart of the city, is famous for its fine examples of Lanna art. It was founded in the fourteenth century, but all the buildings today date from the nineteenth century and much of the restoration work is of a very recent date.

The rear viharn has some beautiful murals depicting scenes from every-day life in Lanna a hundred years ago. Here is housed a copy of the Phra Sihing Buddha Image. There is some exquisite wood carving on other buildings and the scripture repository, where holy texts written into folding books made of bai lan or sa paper, were carefully preserved, is a gem of Lanna art. The senior abbot in Chiang Mai resides at Wat Phra Singh and many important Buddhist ceremonies take place here.

A city temple tour would take you to visit the temple and as it is practically in the centre of the old moated city; Wat Phra Singh is in close walking distance to most guesthouses and many hotels.

Wat Phra Thad Sri Chom Thong 
The present Viharn was built at the beginning of the nineteenth century, but there has certainly been a temple here for many hundred years to house the famous Buddhist relic. This is said to come from the right side of the Lord Buddha's skull. This relic is much revered locally; it is kept in a golden mondop and brought out for display on the main Buddhist festivals. Many other old Buddha statues are kept at the temple under tight security.

Passing on through the little market town of Chom Tong, you arrive at an important group of cotton weaving villages situated on the banks of the usually dried up river Ping. Hand operated looms are used and it is possible to watch the girls at work. At one small factory there is a museum of textiles and weaving and also a good restaurant. 

Wat Phra Thad Doi Suthep 
Seen from everywhere in the city, this is the guardian temple of Chiang Mai. 

This temple is one of the most famous Buddhist shrines in the region. A visit is a must for all Buddhists who come to Chiang Mai. Legend has it that an especially holy relic was brought to Chiang Mai in 1371. To decide where it should be enshrined, it was placed on the back of an elephant, which promptly set out to climb the mountain. It finally came to rest and there the relic was buried. The first chedi was built over it and the temple has been continually expanded and embellished ever since.

Doi Suthep is a short seventeen kilometre drive from the city up a road that was first built in 1935. You then have to climb some two hundred steps up the naga stairway, or take a small tram to the temple. The view across Chiang Mai City and the river Ping valley is breathtaking and makes the exhausting climb worthwhile.

And then there is the temple itself. Cloisters painted with bright murals depicting the previous lives of the Buddha and filled with Buddha statues, enclose a marble floored area in the middle of which rises up a glorious golden chedi. The chedi is surrounded with a railing and at the four points of the compass are places where people can offer flowers, light joss sticks and apply small squares of gold leaf as they pray and make their wishes.

Doi Suthep can be seen from everywhere in Chiang Mai, it is a potent and powerful presence to which people often lift up their eyes for consolation in trouble or gratitude in happiness. You can take songteaw taxis up the mountain or join a tour.

Wat Umong 
A peaceful jungle temple with no known origin. 

No one knows the origin of this jungle temple. Some say it was founded in the time of King Mengrai. Be that as it may, it was deserted for many years and only became a religious meditation centre again in the 1940's.

There are some very old meditation cells built into a wall of brick (hence the name Umong) above which stands a bell-shaped chedi. The attraction of Wat Umong, however, is not the buildings but its fifty acres of tree filled park and lake. Most of the trees have signs, written in Thai and English, of Buddhist exhortations - today many visit the famed 'preaching trees'. There is also a library with literature on Buddhism as well as a museum - incredibly the library is said to contain a Cornish - English dictionary.

To wander, meditating through these leafy groves is a truly spiritual experience. Behind the temple grounds is an extensive open zoo where many different species of birds can be seen and where inquisitive deer roam free. There is also a small area that houses handicapped people who have nowhere else to live - you can help them by buying their handicrafts, which are on sale near the gate.

Wat Chiang Man 
Know as Chiang Mai's oldest temple, Wat Chiang Man used to be the residence of King Mengrai. It is located inside the walled city on Rachakinai Road. King Mangrai allegedly lived here while the new city of Chiang Mai was being constructed.

Enshrined in Wat Chiang Man is a tiny crystal Buddha called Phra Setang- Kamanee. It is thought to have the power to bring rain. Another image, called Phra Silakao, reflects the fine workmanship of Indian craftsmen from hundreds of years ago. The pagoda has rows of elephant buttresses at its base. 

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