This monastery is situated on the slope of a mountain near the city of Chiang Mai, so it offers a good view of the city. It is located about 15 km.
Admission fee: 30 baht.
The relics housed in its stupa render it a highly significant shrine for Buddhist devotees, so a multitude of pilgrims from all over the country come here to express their faith, walking around the stupa and in front of the Buddha statues.
The video available below illustrates the monastery and explains the symbolic value of the funeral monuments or stupas, also known as chedis.
The construction of the temple began in the 14th century with its main building, the stupa.
Legend has it that this stupa houses an important relic: a piece of bone from the Buddha’s shoulder. It was transported to this mountain by a white elephant that came from far away to roam the area before stopping here, indicating that this was the right place to build the monastery where the relic would be kept safe.
This is the most important temple in the north of Thailand and a traditional pit-stop for visitors to the area.
From the car park, visitors have to climb 290 steps before they can get their entrance ticket, although there is also a rack railway that will be able to take you to the top.
The main building in all Buddhist temples is the stupa or chedi – in particular when it houses the relics of monks famous in their lifetime, members of the royal family or Buddhas.
Each stupa represents – symbolically, of course – the cosmic centre of the universe, like the Meru or Kailas mountains of Tibet.
These buildings are also associated with the mind of the Buddha, just as statues represent his body and writings embody his word.
These spiritual centres also have something in common with mantras. According to Buddhist tradition, temples invoke spiritual wellbeing to all those who approach them, visit them and walk around a stupa, while mantras have the same effect on those that chant them. You do not have to be a believer or understand their content for this to happen: it just does.
The stupa should be circled clockwise, with the most sacred thing – the stupa – on your right and everything else to your left. A similar pattern can be found in many religious beliefs.
Should you decide to join the ranks of the faithful, we suggest that you show respect to the Buddha – as you would you do it with Gandhi or Mother Teresa – in order to establish a mental link with him and his teachings.