We made a school day out of some visits to two temples in the area. Tiffany was fond of telling the kids that “we had ‘Wats’ to do today”.
The kids weren’t amused by that pun either.
Our first stop was to visit Wat Phat That Doi Kham which features three enormous Buddha statues in the three famous positions (sitting, standing and reclining).
It also had a restored but smallish Naga protecting the steps to the Chedi which allowed us to get a photo of the detail. The picture shows how one head has other heads coming out of its mouth. In this case only one head is coming out but sometimes as many as nine.
The temple face was glittering in intricate gold and gem detailing. There were also fantastical blue elephants guarding the entrance to the temple complex – we hadn’t seen anything like that in other places.
This 1000+ year old temple complex is set into the mountain and also features a large number of stairs for pilgrims to ascend. Our 5 Adventurers were dropped off at the top by their driver but walked down the 300+ steps. The top of the staircase closest to the temple was raised from the forest floor and was protected by two nagas similar to Wat Doi Suthep which we saw on Monday. The second half of the steps offered an experience much closer to what the original pilgrims may have had. We deserved the teasing from our driver about only walking down instead of both ways but we were happy with the choice.
Our second stop was to Wat Umong which is considered the forest temple of Chiang Mai. The area is densely forested and there are lovely grounds to walk and contemplate spiritual concepts.
We invested 30 baht in fish food and watched some large catfish devour every pellet they could find. The pigeons seemed to recognize that food was in their midst and flocked closely for a meal. Suaram had one land one her shoulder. Clearly these birds haven’t been chased enough to be wary of the kids.
One of the oldest temples in the area, Wat Umong features an underground sanctuary buried into the hillside pagoda. The tunnels were showing their age but at the end of every passage was a beautiful, peaceful alcove with Buddha and others statues.
We will probably visit more wats before leaving Thailand in a few weeks so expect wats more photos.😉