Wat Suan Dok

Pedro Fernandes

of Wat Suan Dok

One of the most revered temples in Chiang Mai city is the "Flower Garden Temple", so named because it was built in King Kue Na's flower garden in 1373. If you are in the area of the old city, it is well worth a little detour as it is located only 1km west of the Old City on Suthep Road. The huge 48-metre high bell-shaped chedi, built in the Sri Lankan style, is a major landmark. According to ancient legend, a monk from the Sukhothai Kingdom discovered a relic of the Buddha which was magically duplicated - one of which was subsequently enshrined in Wat Suan Dok and the second at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Both of these temples were built to house the sacred relics. There are several more buildings of interest in the temple grounds. Take a look inside Sala Kan Prian - a large wihan (main prayer hall) - which was built in 1932 and lies east of the main chedi. Here you will see the three main Buddha statues which are centuries old and each one looks out in a different direction. These are flanked by yet more Buddha images, some built in the 1930s. Move on to the ubusot (ordination hall) which contains a 4.7-metre bronze Buddha statue that was cast in 1504, and its design reflects influences from both the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya kingdoms. In the north-west corner of the temple grounds, you will find a group of whitewashed, mystical and immaculately kept mausoleums which contain the ashes of the royal Kings of Chiang Mai. The Chedi's gilded bell-shaped tower rising high against a backdrop of the white mausoleums is quite a sight at sunset. Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University is also located in the temple grounds and here you can join the popular "Monk Chat" and learn English-language meditation.

Map of North West Thailand

North West Thailand-Map

Chiang Mai