Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a Theravada Buddhist temple perched high on a mountain side .
The temple is often referred to as “Doi Suthep” although this is actually the name of the mountain it is located on. The temple is about nine miles out of Chiang Mai and it’s a sacred site to many Thai people.
To reach the temple you have to take an incredibly steep, winding mountain track with amazing views as it’s about 3,500 feet above sea level .
Then you can either climb up the 306 steps to reach the temple or whizz up in a tram . . . here’s the ornate Naga steps
The temple is stuffed to the gills with gaudy, glittering ornamentation, from towering demons to a sacred jackfruit tree wrapped in colourful cloth to pay tribute to the spirits.
According to legend a relic, believed to be part of Buddha’s shoulder bone, was put on the back of a white elephant which was released in the jungle.
The elephant is said to have climbed up Doi Suthep, at the time called Doi Aoy Chang (Sugar Elephant Mountain), trumpeted three times before kneeling. It was interpreted as a sign and King Nu Naone ordered the construction of a temple at the site.
One of the main sights is the blinding, glittering golden Pagoda of the Holy Relic that houses the relic of Buddha. Worshippers circle the pagoda to pay their respects.
A white elephant statue, the symbol of the elephant who carried the Buddha’s relic to the hilltop, guards the pagoda and welcomes the visitors. You can see it below, along with the sacred jackfruit tree, wrapped in colourful cloth.
Because there’s so much to see. I’ll continue in another post!