The scent of incense and a mantra that shakes the soul.
Chiang Mai has also given me this.
Moments of silence. Moments of reflection. Moments to listen to my heart.
The city is full of temples, each with its own style, each with its own buddha.
You’ll see them in the daytime, crowded with tourists, with golden pagodas that shine at sunrise, but if you want to try a unique experience I can only give you this advice: visit them in the evening. Visit them with silence.
In Chiang Mai, in Phrapokklao Road, it is the largest pagoda in the city: Wat Chedi Luang. 98 meters high, wide 54 was completed in 1481, but partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1545.Once housed the famous Emerald Buddha now preserved in the temple Phra Kaeo in Bangkok. I saw it an evening. It was impressive, illuminated by beams of light.
Around me a dull silence interrupted, suddenly, from growing of a mantra recited by the monks. It seemed that time, at that precise moment, had stopped.
Next to the great pagoda, you will also see smaller temples and one of these has silver inlays. All the skill of the craftsmen of Chiang Mai, however, is visible in the Wat Sri Suphan also known as Silver Temple. Located just outside the walls of Chiang Mai, in the middle of a residential neighborhood into a side street of the Saturday Night Market Walking Street on Wua Lai Road, this temple is built with plates of gold and silver. Lanna Tradition has it That in the temple may enter only men. It ‘s so detailed, so beautiful, so shiny as to leave you breathless. I visited the temple in the morning and evening, at a time that, as was the case for Wat Chedi Luang, gave me a new emotion. At sunset, in fact, I attended a Buddhist ritual: the temple was illuminated only by the candles of many young monks, who, marching slowly in procession, they turned around it reciting a mantra. In the temple you can speak with the monks in english, and they will teach you the basics for meditation: you find them on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 17:30 to 19 and from 19 to 21 for meditate.
The most famous temples of Chiang Mai, are the Wat Phra Singh and Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.
The first, located along Sam Lam Road, dates back to 1345 and retains the venerated image of the Buddha Phra Phutthasihing. The temple complex is very large and includes the Lai Kham chapel, enriched with carved wood and decorated in Lanna style.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is 15 km from the town and is reached by songthaew, pickups red taxis, that will leave you in a square where there are many stalls where you can find traditional clothes, food and souvenirs. This is the most famous temple of Chiang Mai, located at 1676 meters above sea level. To get there you must climb a long, steep staircase; 290 steps of passion, but once you reach the top, you will enjoy a wonderful view of the city. The temple, dominated by a large gold padoga, contains some sacred relics of the Buddha and is visited by faithful from around the world.
Every corner of Chiang Mai and the surrounding area hosts temples with timeless charm … you just have to choose which one you want to visit! In the next articles we go a see the museums, elephants, waterfalls and Thailand’s highest peak.