Wat Phra That Doi Suthep or often called Wat Doi Suthep sits on top of Doi Suthep Mountain that overlooks Chiang Mai, 15 kilometers away. The views of Chiang Mai from on top of the mountain are awesome and should be on your list of "must sees" for the Chiang Mai area, if visiting. The temple is quite striking, with the a golden chedi at its center and many Buddha images. You access the temple grounds from the main road transecting the mountain but that is just the start of your journey. From the parking area there are many steps up the mountain summit to the temple grounds. But the hike is worth the effort with the views and beautiful temple grounds.
According to Thai legend, the temple was constructed at the of where a sacred Buddha relic laid to rest with the death of a white elephant (sacred to the ancient Thai People). The relic was found by a monk named Sumanathera during the Sukhothai period. The relic was said to have many special powers but then showed to the King at the time the relic did not show any powers. Part of the relic was placed on the back of a white elephant and sent up to Doi Suthep and promptly dropped dead. The temple is purported to constructed at the location where the elephant died.
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