Wat Phra That Doi Kham (Golden Temple)

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Travelling to Wat Phra That Doi Kham, Chiang Mai

Wat Phra That Doi Kham is another remarkable temple in Chiang Mai that worthwhile for the tourists to visit. It also recognised the oldest temple in this ancient city as well. The holy place nestles at Doi Kham the backward of Royal Park Rajapruek which is about 10 km from the city town. The temple which assumed is over 1,300 years of age is the location of the significant pagoda where enshrined the Budda’s relics (Phra That Chedi). Plus, there’re lots of sacred Buddha images which are worshipful among the Buddhist in Chiang Mai and neighbouring provinces, in particular, “Luang Pho Than Jai” which created the same way as the “Natboboyee” in Myanmar with the reputation to bless and fulfil the wish for the devotees.

History of Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Wat Phra That Doi Kham is one of the important temples in Chiang Mai with more than 1,300 years. The monastery that locates in Doi Kham established in 687 AD in the age of Queen Chamadevi of Haribunjaya Kingdom by both of her sons. The monastery complex consists of the pagoda to house the Buddha’s relics, pavilion, monks’ dwelling, and stucco Buddha images. The temple, originally named “Wat Suwan Bunphot” (means the Golden Mountain”), however, it’s better known among the local as “Wat Doi Kham”. The site currently situates at the rear of Royal Park Rajapruek.

Mythology about the temple

Ubosot (ordination hall) at Wat Phra That Doi Kham

The Thanon Thong Chai Range in the west is a location of 2 most significant palladium chedis of Chiang Mai which each one was established by the ruler of Haribunjaya and Lanna respectively. And one of those is “Phra That Doi Kham” which nestled on the top of a small peak of approximately 200 metres above the sea level in the southwest of Chiang Mai town. Phra That Doi Kham, according to a native myth was a home of the giant couple called “Ji Kham” and “Ta Kiew” and they were named by the villagers later as “Pu Sae” (Grandpa Sae) and “Ya Sae” (Grandma Sae). They have a child named “Sudeva Rusi”. And the title of the place “Doi Kham” came from the incident after the giant couple got the Buddha’s hair. And it was heavy rain for days resulted in the water wash down the gold ore from the mount and brooks to the mouth of the cave in a large amount. Hence the mount named was “Doi Kham” (the golden mountain) since then.

Nonetheless, there are other mythologies refer to the site that “the celestials brought the Buddha’s relics (hair) to give to Pu Sae and Ya Sae. Then, they invited the relics to bury and built a stupa on the top of the mountain. Later, in 687 Chao Mahantayos and Chao Anantayos the twin son of Queen Chamadevi of the Haribunjaya Kingdom constructed the pagoda to cover the original stupa where enshrined the Buddha’s hair inside. And another pagoda stands on the high cliff of the mountain I the north of Chiang Mai which is the famous and significant landmark of Chiang Mai “Phra That Doi Suthep”.

Every year on the 7th and 8th of the waning moon after Visakha Bucha Day are set up as the day to sprinkle the water onto the Buddha’s relic. The day was the cremation day of the Lord Buddha which is 8 days after the Buddha entered to the nirvana. So, it considered being one of the most significant days for Buddhist that is on the 8th of the waning moon in the Visakha month (the 6th month according to Thai calendar). Wat Phra That Doi Kham set the day to organise the ceremony of remembrance for the grace of the triple gems (Buddha Kuna, Dhamma Kuna, and Sangha Kuna) annually.    

“Luang Pho Than Jai” (Instant Bless Buddha) at Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Luang Pho Than Jai (Instant Bless Buddha)

The most notable sacred thing of Wat Phra That Doi Kham that inviting lots of people to visit the place is “Luang Pho Than Jai” which known as the Buddha image that gives the blessing to one who makes a wish. The sacred image has the considerable reputation about the fortune and heals any sickness even paralyse case. Also, the gambling lovers that like the lottery game come over here to pray for luck. 

In fact, there are many people may be curious about the name “Luang Pho Than Jai” (which means instant bless Buddha) means that we can fulfil our wish instantly, won’t we? Actually, the cause to call “Luang Pho than Jai” is initial from how quick to build and consecrate the Buddha image. In the old day, the tradition to create the Buddha image in the northern territory favoured building the statue called “Phra Chao Than Jai” which referred to the Buddha image that takes only 1 day to be completed. 

That means the ceremony starts after midnight and continues until the statue complete before the sunset (at 6.00pm) on the next day. Unless the image cannot finish it will be just ordinary Buddha image and the incantation ceremony will set up on the next day in the afternoon. So, to make the unique Buddha image like this is an extraordinary task to accomplish since the process to create a Buddha image is complicated and delicate to finish within a day.

Making the Buddha image included the incantation within a day is a phenomenon matter. So, the people believe that it caused by the magic of the statue itself and the celestials who support the process to be accomplished without any obstacles. Thence, the Buddhist believe that “Phra Chao than Jai” is a Buddha statue that gives a blessing to fulfil ones wish instantly.

And about Luang Pho Than Jai at Wat Phra That Doi Kham is well-known in holiness which can fulfil the wish to the devotees in fortune – occupation, business, and lucky draw for example. The holy statue which believed that was created in the age of Phya Gue Na, the 6th king of the Mangrai dynasty of Lanna. The Buddha image is enormous famous among the believers both local and outsiders. Traditionally, the blessed people will come back to offer the jasmine garland to redeem a vow to the sacred image.

How to make a wish and a vow redemption of Luang Pho Than Jai

How to make a wish to Luang Pho Than Jai

A vast number of villagers and tourists come to Wat Phra That Doi Kham to make a vow and wish from Luang Pho Than Jai. The tradition is to pay homage with 3 incense sticks and make a wish by offering the jasmine garland to redeem the vow at least 50 wheels (some people provided more than a hundred). And the most important is “you can make just only one wish”. Presently, lots of visitors come to the temple to make a vow, and once they fulfilled their vow, they will go back to the temple with lots of jasmines to redeem to the holy statue. Unsurprisingly, thousands of jasmine garlands packed over the altar at the front of Lung Pho Than Jai every day which can represent how the sanctity of the significant statue of Wat Phra That Doi Kham.

The Jasmine for the Worship and Redemption to Luang Pho Than Jai

The Jasmine for the Worship and Redemption to Luang Pho Than Jai

The jasmine garlands are available at the vending stalls all along the way ascending to Wat Phra That Doi Kham, and we recommend you to ask for the price before you grab it. In case one that would like to buy in a huge amount you’d better get them from the local flower market called “Talad Ton Lam Yai” which is adjacent to Talad Luang or Talad Waroros. Otherwise, a market called “Talad Nim Si Seng” at the Mae Jo Intersection (Theppanya Hospital or Fa Harm Tunnel) is another spot that you can get the garland as well. However, you should order in prior before the day you visit the temple.

What to see at Wat Phra That Doi Kham

1. The Speakable Buddha Image and a new Ubosot (ordination hall)

The Speakable Buddha Image at Wat Phra That Doi Kham

The very first Buddha image at Wat Phra That Doi Kham that every tourist will witness is settled right at the entrance of the compound. The Buddha statue was built to be the moral teaching for the Buddhist by creating a gigantic Buddha image and enshrined outdoors exposed to the sun and rain; however there is not any complaint from the statue but stays calm. The metaphor is to teach the people who come to visit the temple to be patient for any suffering and difficulty in life.

2. The two elephant kings

two elephant kings at Wat Phra That Doi Kham

And not far from the Buddha statue stand the stucco figures of two elephant kings towering for the visitors to walk through the legs which the belief is that it can eliminate any bad luck. Referring to the ancient Chiang Mai that believed that elephant is a sacred and symbolic animal of the state which has supported the Buddhism from time to time.

3. Phra That Doi Kham

Pagoda "Phra That Doi Kham" means golden temple

The pagoda “Phra That Doi Kham” which assumed that was constructed in the age of Queen Chamadevi or in about 687 AD. Nevertheless, the pagoda exists nowadays is an outcome of restoration after the breakage incident that spotlighted the temple and resurrected to the mainstream of Chiang Mai again.

It assumed that there is the Buddha’s relics housed inside the pagoda resulted in the place is another great worshipful temple that the Buddhist whether in Chiang Mai and other regions come to visit and worship the Phra That Doi Kham chedi.

4. Standing Buddha image and The Giant Reclining Buddha Image

The Giant Reclining Buddha Image

Apart from the famous “Luang Pho Than Jai” and a “Speakable Buddha”, the visitors will experience two more fascinating Buddha images located at the large ground backward of the temple. Those large Buddha images are a standing Buddha in the attitude of persuading the relatives not to quarrel and a reclining Buddha statue. Even though both of them were created later but with the beautiful and delicate craftsmanship of the images led them both not to be less in respectful towards the people.

Furthermore, the monastery complex also offers a magnificent viewpoint which presents a stunning landscape of Chiang Mai town, Chiang Mai International Airport, and the short-range visibility of Royal Park Rajapruek. Also, a Lord Amarin shrine stands in the northeast of the pagoda.

Besides the sacred things that the Buddhist and the tourists can sightsee within the compound. Wat Phra That Doi Kham offers the visitors with lots of food stalls, souvenir shops, and definitely, the lottery stands.

Thing to know before visit Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Wat Phra That Doi Kham is one of the most important monasteries in Chiang Mai; therefore the tourists who plan to visit the temple should wear the proper costume by avoiding any armless tops and short skirts/trousers. Plus, some areas of the compound are steep followed to the characteristic of the mountain, so it is recommended to the visitors to wear the proper shoes. And you should not get out of the route appointed by the temple. And since the temple situates on the high mountain “Doi Kham”, regularly the visitors often face to the vulnerable climate, i.e. instant rain that can occur in any season or the thick fog that is interfering in driving and limiting the beauty of the viewpoint. So, to have a pleasant trip to Wat Phra That Doi Kham, it is highly recommended that the visitors should aware of the costume and check the weather before visiting the temple. Regularly, the duration time for taking a tour of the temple is about 2-3 hours estimate.  

Operating Time

Wat Phra That Doi Kham opens daily from 6.00am through 6.00pm.

Travelling to the Temple

Travelling to Wat Phra That Doi khamin

And to get to the temple is multiple options which are;

By car:

  1. Lieb Khlong Chonlapratarn Canal Road drives from the road at Talad Ton Phayom market to the south in about 6 km. Wat Phra That Doi Kham is on the right.
  2. Drives along the highway Chiang Mai – Hod with about 9 km. And from the airport junction, takes the right fork to enter Plant Propagation Center Number 7 and drives more 4 km. The route will lead you to the temple.
  3. Drives from Samoeng Intersection along the Chiang Mai – Hang Dong Road and continues on the canal road. There is signage to guide you to drive across the canal to Mae Hea district which is the same way to the Royal Park Rajapruek or Chiang Mai Safari and the Plant Propagation Center.

Note:

  • Before arriving at the temple, there is plenty of flowers stands that you can buy the jasmine garland to worship at the temple.
  • The route to the temple is mountainside and narrow road, so it is a precaution for the drivers to drive very carefully.

By Public Transport:

Unfortunately, there is no any public transport to the temple. However, the tourist can hire the vehicle from Chiang Mai city town with the fee for round trip is approximately THB400. Alternatively, you can get the Grab service.

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