Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is the most famous temple of Chaing Mai, Thailand and is known as the temple on the mountain. The temple is located 15 km outside the city on Mount Suthep in the Doi Pui National Park. The first Chedi of the temple was built in 1383 and over the years the temple has been expanded with several buildings and many religious items.
The first paved road to the temple was constructed in the 1930 and a statue of the engineer monk is located close to the entrance stair way. This statue along with a Buddha statue are shown in the next two photos.
The stairs from the parking lot to the first level of the temple was added in 1935 and is over 300 steps from the parking area to the temple grounds. The staircase is bordered by naga (water serpents) which are said to bring good luck as well as bridging the earth and sky. The stairs and the heads of the serpents are shown in the following photos.
The first floor of the temple has various statues and other items scattered around that include the items show below:
Statues of monks
Variety of other items
The second floor is highlighted by a 24 meters (79 ft.) tall gold plated Chedi. At the four corners of the Chedi are ceremonial parasols that were added in the 16th century.
The base of the Chedi is lined with Buddha in a variety of positions. Some are standing, most are sitting and some are laying.
The outside of the second floor is circled by a covered open aired corridor. Against the wall of the corridor are Buddha setting on pedestals and the outside edge of the covered ceiling is lined with tiny bells.
The setting Buddha are clothed with different colored and textured robes as shown in the following photos.
The walls of the corridor are completely covered with murals. In most temples the murals depict events from history and religious teachings. I found the murals to be very interesting and included some to provide an example of the type of art that covers the corridor walls.
Of course, there is a worship hall and the photo below is the back wall of the worship hall.
Chiang Mai is packed with temples and many of them are nice to visit but Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is a must see site when visiting Chiang Mai. It is amazing to me that a temple of this size and quality could be built in such a remote location.
I always try to find the identifying element of a religious site when I visit. I think the two identifying elements for this temple are the massive golden covered Chedi and the murals that completely cover the corridor walls. The almost 80 foot tall gold covered Chedi is by far the show stopper but I felt the murals provided a history of the culture that wasn’t seen in some of the other places that I have visited.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is a large temple. Many temples of this size are located in city centers. This temple was originally built in a remote location and was only accessible by a trail that was mainly used by monks. I think it is fitting that it still requires visitors to climb a 300 step stairs to get to the first floor of the temple.