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Stop At: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Doi Suthep 50200 Thailand
Doi Suthep temple.
is a Theravada Buddhist temple (wat) in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. The temple is often referred to as "Doi Suthep" although this is actually the name of the mountain where it's located. It is a sacred site to many Thai people. The temple is 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the city of Chiang Mai. From the temple, impressive views of downtown Chiang Mai can be seen.
The original founding of the temple remains a legend and there are a few varied versions. The temple is said to have been founded in 1383 when the first stupa was built. Over time, the temple has expanded, and been made to look more extravagant with many more holy shrines added. A road to the temple was first built in 1935.
White elephant legend
White elephant shrine
According to legend, a monk named Sumanathera from the Sukhothai Kingdom had a dream. In this vision he was told to go to Pang Cha and look for a relic. Sumanathera ventured to Pang Cha and found a bone. Many claim it was Gautama Buddha's shoulder bone. The relic displayed magical powers: it glowed, it was able to vanish, it could move and replicate itself. Sumanathera took the relic to King Dhammaraja, who ruled Sukhothai. The eager Dhammaraja made offerings and hosted a ceremony when Sumanathera arrived. However, the relic displayed no abnormal characteristics, and the king, doubtful of the relic's authenticity, told Sumanathera to keep it.
King Nu Naone of Lan Na heard of the relic and bade the monk to bring it to him. In 1368, with Dharmmaraja's permission, Sumanathera took the relic to what is now Lamphun, in northern Thailand. Once there, the relic broke into two pieces. The smaller piece was enshrined at Wat Suan Dok. The other piece was placed by the king on the back of a white elephant which was released into the jungle. The elephant is said to have climbed up Doi Suthep, at that time called Doi Aoy Chang (Sugar Elephant Mountain), stopped, trumpeted three times, then dropped dead. This was interpreted as an omen. King Nu Naone immediately ordered the construction of a temple at the site.
The name of the Temple (Wat Phra That Doi Suthep) actually explains what the temple has. Phra entails of an honorific Buddha image, and That means a relic. Combining the two tells that there is a relic of Buddha's in the sanctity of the Wat, and in this case it's half of Buddha's shoulder bone. The location of the shoulder bone relic is to be found in the rounded portion of the Chedi right above the octagonal redented section and below the ringed section.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Stop At: Doi Pui Mong Hill Tribe Village, Chiang Mai Thailand
Origins of the Hmong
It is not entirely clear where the Hmong hill tribe originally came from. Most probably their ancestors lived in Tibet and China. The Hmong have a very strong urge to remain independent. Attempts from Chinese authorities to subjugate them and force them to integrate has led to a real Hmong diaspora. By the end of the 19th century the first Hmong villages were established in Northern Thailand. Many Hmong fled from Laos to Thailand and were resettled in the United States after 1975.
The Hmong hill tribe people in Thailand believe in a mixture of animism and shamanism with ancestor worship. Villages have spirit shrines to protect from evil. There are village and house spirits. The Hmong bury their dead and believe each person has three souls, and that upon death, one goes to heaven, one goes to be reincarnated and the other remains in the grave with the corpse.
Culture and lifestyle
Traditional rice growing and gardens in the hills is being replaced by emphasis on other cash crops — cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries — which were introduced as a substitute for opium growing. Hmong hill tribe are involved in several royal projects such as the Doi Inthanon Royal Project and the Huay Luek Development Centre near Chiang Dao which focus on crop substitution.
Hmong Traditional Textiles and Handicrafts is the unique and beautiful multi color
Duration: 45 minutes
Pass By: Global Feed Tour and Travel, 42 Soi Charan Sanitwong 8, Watthapra, Bangkok Noi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand