Thailand

A tryst with spirituality at Chiang Mai

Tucked away in the mountains of Northern Thailand, experience a profound sense of spirituality at Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is an upcoming tourist town away from the hustle and bustle of neighboring Bangkok. This deeply venerable and sacred place boasts of more than 300 Buddhist temples. The energy is palpable when you visit these temples of Buddhist worship when you are in Chiang Mai:

Buddhist temples at Chiang Mai

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Built in the 14th century, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a greatly revered place in the whole of Thailand. Perched on top of the lofty Doi Suthep mountain, this sprawling temple offers fantastic panoramic views of the Doi Suthep–Pui National Park. The cynosure of this temple is the 24-meter-high stupa made of gold which radiates divinity under sunshine. Buddhist chants and sprightly rhythm of the bells ringing are the usual sounds here.

Wat Chedi Luang

The distinctive architectural style of the stupa at the Wat Chedi Luang made of stone is sure to transport you back in time. The stupa looks undone or damaged because of a devastating earthquake which reduced its height from 82 m to the current 50 m. Have a deeper understanding of Buddhism and about the life of the monks by engaging in a conversation with them.

Wat Phra Singh

This ancient Buddhist temple renowned for its traditional Lanna-style architecture has slanting roofs with a richly decorated exterior façade. Visit the imposing Phra Buddha Sihing statue and beautiful murals inside the famed Wihan Lai Kham. You can hear soft Buddhist hymns emerging from the ubosot where monks are engrossed in prayer.

Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Scale 300 steps on foot or hitch a ride on a funicular to reach the top of the forested Doi Pui Mountain to find a larger than life statue of Lord Buddha. This white and golden colored statue showing the Bhumisparsha mudra represents the moment of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment. Also known as the Temple of the Golden Mountain, the sweeping views of the surrounding valley and Chiang Mai will mesmerise you.

Wat Umong

Steeped in a jungle at the foot of the Doi Suthep mountain is a 700-year-old Buddhist temple. The temple seems like it is caught in time as it wears a worn-out look but feels closer to the heart as it has remained untouched by time and modern life. Feel like one among the monks who reside here when you meditate in the prayer tunnels. With a towering stupa in the midst of thick vegetation and a large lake beside it, find solace in nature by feeding the pigeons and turtles.

Other temples you should not miss

Walk under the cool shade of trees to reach Wat Tham Chiang Dao. Situated on the foothills of the Doi Chiang Dao mountain at the entrance of a cave which is full of stalactites and stalagmites. Candles lit in devotion for the Lord Buddha illuminate the corners of the cave giving this place a magical aura.

Covered in mist in the mornings, climb a few steps to visit the tall golden stupa of the Wat Tham Pha Plong shrine which looks impressive against the verdant hilly background.

Lose yourself in the lap of nature and experience pure devotion at Wat Pha Lat. This temple has a rustic charm with its walls gathering moss and a stream burbling nearby. Experience the power of prayers that infuse faith in you by visiting these shrines in Chiang Mai.