Wat Phrathat Doi Kham
Wat Phra That Doi Kham on Doi Suthep
The Wat Phra That Doi Kham is located on the low slopes of Doi Suthep/Suthep Mountain. It is a very popular temple. Many Thai Buddhists visit this interesting temple on Doi Kham, one of the foothills of Suthep Mountain.
Table of Contents
The history of Wat Phra That Doi Kham
Not much is known about the history of the temple but it seems to date back to the 7th century which predates the foundation of Chiang Mai (1296) by hundreds of years. Wat Phra That Doi Kham is a very interesting and fascinating temple. It is located on a hill, from where you have a nice view over Chiang Mai and the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek. The temple has three big Buddha statues in different positions: standing, sitting and reclining. The beautiful chedi contains relics of the Buddha. Apart from that there are numerous statues and images of deities, hermits and guardian spirits.
Walking the Naga staircase
Most visitors to Wat Phrathat Doi Kham drive the short and winding road to the temple. I can recommend walking up the Naga staircase as it adds to the experience, in my opinion. The first part of the walk takes you through the forest until you reach the staircase. It is a bit of a workout but worth doing. You will reach a platform with a reclining and standing Buddha statue. This is the way pilgrims walked to the temple before they constructed the road and the huge parking lot.
The legends of Wat Phrathat Doi Kham
There are so many stories and legends to tell about Wat Phrathat Doi Kham: the most famous legend involves a couple of giants Pu Sae and Ya Sae and their son Sudeva Rikshi and the Buddha. Ultimately Pu Sae and Ya Sae became the ancestor spirits of the Lanna Kingdom. At the foot of Doi Kham there is a shrine for Pu Sae and Ya Sae.
According to some myths recorded by the late Kraisri Nimmanhaeminda (1967), once when the Buddha was traveling in the area of present-day Chiang Mai, he met three giants who were cannibals. It was a couple with their son. This trio followed his trail in the hope of making a meal of him.
Buddha frightened them by stamping his foot on a boulder, where today is Wat Phra Buddha Bat Si Roi in Mae Rim District.
Finally, when the Buddha delivered a sermon to them, the cannibals converted to his religion and abstained from taking human flesh to be allowed the flesh of the buffalo instead. As for their son, he was so affected by the sermon that he pledged to abstain forever from consuming meat of any kind, and asked to become a monk. Later he disrobed to lead the life of a hermit, spending his time in meditation in a cave a-top the mountain that later took his name: Doi Suthep. After death, the trio became roaming spirits.
The location of Wat Phra That Doi Kham
Wat Phra That Doi Kham is located on Doi Kham, one of the lower mountains at the base of Doi Suthep. It is about 15 kms from the old city of Chiang Mai. From Wat Doi Kham you have a nice view of Chiang Mai.
The temple doesn’t have an entrance fee.