Chiang Mai is a city that maintains its historical and religious charm thanks to the presence of many historical buildings. In fact, the moat and the wall around the Old Town were originally built in 1296, when the city was founded, and have been restored in the 20th century; but what really gives the city of Chiang Mai its unique aspect are the temples. Within the city and its outskirts, there are over 300 temples that reflect the glory of the ancient Lanna kingdom. Wherever you are in Chiang Mai, you will see a temple, to the point that people get so use seeing them that they don’t even notice their presence anymore. Other people, like me, keep walking around the city with their eyes wide open and can’t get enough of them, not even after months in the city.
‘How can you be so obsessed with temples? They are all the same, after you’ve seen one, you have seen them all!’
It might be my background in history of art, it might be the fact that is not only the actual temples that fascinate me but also the sound of the prayer, the bright orange of the monks’ vests, the gold statues on the white stones, the flowers and the peace that I find there. I remember the very first temple that I entered in Bangkok like it was yesterday. I can hear the prayer, smell the incense and feel my eyes jumping in that blaze of colors, carvings, and golden statues. I might have a special love for temples, but I can still assure you that they are not all the same; particularly in Chiang Mai where one can see the stylish influences from the Lanna Kingdom, Burma, and Sri Lanka.
I have to admit that in Chiang Mai there are really a lot of temples and many people spend just a few days in the city, so a selection is required. In the time that I spent there, I managed to see quite a few of them and in this post I will show you the one that impressed me the most and show more differences.
First of all, a WAT is a temple complex, that includes the main building where the prayers take place and the Buddha statues are displayed. The CHEDI or STUPA is a hermetic structure that contain relics of Buddha. As I mentioned, the structure is hermetic and it can be of different sizes and materials but it’s never accessible.
Here asome of the best temple I've been :