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Wat Sisuphan

Wat Sisuphan

Andrew Smith

If you are planning a trip to the market, or if you are close to the southern end of the old city, you will not regret spending an hour or so at this magnificent temple which is often referred to as Chiang Mai's Silver Temple. Located just south of the Old City, close to the Saturday Walking Street Market on Wualai Road, and after seeing it you will not be surprised to learn it is located in Chiang Mai's ancient silverware making district. The temple is unique with its Lanna-style walls and roofs constructed with silver, nickel and aluminium panels and roof tiles, and almost pure silver used in the making of sacred images. In the daytime, the temple glistens in the sunlight, and at night it is illuminated with creative coloured lighting - without doubt, a photographer's dream. Established in in 1502, little is left of the original temple except a few teak pillars and roof beams in the main hall. Through the centuries the temple has been renovated and redesigned many times. Its latest incarnation as a silver temple dates back to 2004 when the resident abbot decided to utilise the skills of local silversmiths. The results are quite stunning, particularly in the design of the ordination hall (ubosot), which unfortunately is not open to women (in accordance with ancient Lanna tradition). Inside the ubosot, there are intricately carved silver murals depicting an interesting mixture of Taoist and Zen traditions as well as Theravada Buddhist mythology. You will also see the exquisite gold and silver Ganesha, (A Hindu Deity), statue beneath a silver umbrella, which further illustrates the close relationship between Hinduism and Buddhism. So here there are many more stunning photo opportunities. Outside in the temple grounds, you should pay a visit to the silver workshop together with a silversmith school (signposted from near the entrance), and check out the statues and images in the temple precincts which are all made of silver alloys. There is also a coffee shop and an area where you can chat to monks ("temple chat programme") on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. Open: 6:00am – 6:00pm Price: Donations appreciated Address: Wualai Road, South Chiang Mai.

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