Located near the peak of Doi Suthep, this Theravada Buddhist temple is one of the most iconic temples in northern Thailand and a sacred site to many Thai folks.
There is interesting legend as to how the site for the temple was chosen: a relic (believed to be Buddha's shoulder bone) was placed on the back of a white elephant which was then released into the jungle. The elephant climbed up Doi Suthep, trumpeted 3 times before dying at the site. The temple was built on the site in 1383 during the reign of King Keu Naone and was expanded during the next few centuries. However it was only in 1935 that the road going to the temple complex was finally built.
The road going up the temple is a scenic winding route and offers several vantage points overlooking the city below. At more than 1000 meters above sea, weather can be nice, a bit chilly in the late afternoon. It was foggy at the time we were there.
fog rolled in late in the afternoon
The temple can be reached via a 306-step naga stair case, but there is a also a tram going up. The first floor terrace exhibit the history of the temple including a shrine to Sudeva, the hermit who lived there, as well as the statue of the white elephant who carried the Buddha relic.
images of Buddha
inside one of the prayer halls
The second floor is a tight complex with a towering golden chedi at the center surrounded by various images of the Buddha, and golden umbrellas that represented the city's independence from Burma.
Tourist and the devout flock to the temple so you can expect a crowd. But as twilight fell, we got the grounds almost all to ourselves.
It started to rain by the time the monks started chanting their evening prayer. I was tempted to finally call it a day, but decided to wait it out for the "blue hour". The rain soon toned down to a drizzle just in time for the temple lights to come on, and everything glistened against a deep blue sky.
Here are the rest of my twilight shots. Enjoy!