Wat Phra That Doi Kham
This temple is situated in Tambon Mae Hia, Amphoe Mueang. It is a beautiful temple situated on a lush mountainside near Chiang Mai Town. ‘Wat Phra That’ refers to the fact that this temple houses relics of the Buddha, and ‘Doi Kham’ means ‘Golden Mountain’. The sacred temple was built more than 1300 years ago, in 687 A.D. It had been abandoned, but in 1966 villagers discovered a hidden chamber containing many ancient Buddha images of various sizes, and this find prompted a revitalization.
There is an interesting folktale about Lord Buddha visiting this temple and meeting a rakshasa (demon) family who tried to eat him. Lord Buddha conquered them by sending them his kindness, which they could not stand. The rakshasa family eventually converted, revering our Lord Buddha, and also gave up consuming human flesh.
Removed at some distance from the temple itself, an enormous white pearl Buddha statue is strikingly placed amidst the mountain greenery. On the temple grounds, chedis (pagodas) enshrine Buddha relics. Stairs carved in the form of white nagas (mythical water serpents) lead to a calm and quiet lookout point which offers a panoramic view of Chiang Mai. Visitors may revel in the crisp fresh air and marvel at the picturesque splendour of the valley spread out before them. In addition, the lookout point boasts a beautifully carved wooden pavillion decorated with hanging bells tinkling in the breeze. The temple complex is a favorite fly-by for airplanes on their way to Chiang Mai Airport.
Getting There: From Chiang Mai Town, take the road paralleling Khlong Chonlaprathan (irrigation canal), cross the canal when you reach the sign ‘to Mae Hia’, and then take the road up the mountain to Phra That Doi Kham. Energetic visitors may want to walk up the stairs to the mountaintop.