Exploring Wat Suan Dok – The Flower Garden Temple
Wat Suan Dok provides an unforgettable journey into Chiang Mai’s spiritual history, featuring stunning temple architecture, serene gardens, and deep reverence that make for an unforgettable experience.
Location: West of Old Walled CityEasily accessible on foot through its western gate, morning is the best time for visiting this site.
Wat Suan Dok’s viharn serves as the centerpiece of its temple complex, consisting of a massive structure with one hall supported by pillars. Inside its hall are vibrant colors and patterns which accentuate its design, as well as an ornate Buddha statue which stands proudly in the center.
The hall is surrounded by several smaller chedis that house both royal family members’ ashes as well as religious artifacts of great religious importance. Some small chedis feature gold spires often painted red; several smaller chedis feature golden spires painted red for good luck; some of the chedis at this site have been destroyed over the years due to natural disasters or war, although a few have since been rebuilt by current monks at the temple; many still stand ruined.
Due to the sacred nature of temples, it is advised that visitors dress modestly when visiting. This includes covering shoulders and knees when entering the main prayer hall as well as taking off shoes before entering. Furthermore, visitors should maintain a respectful distance from those praying or meditating within it.
According to historical accounts, King Kuena established this temple around 1370-1371. To help establish Theravada Buddhism within Lanna Kingdom he invited Sumana Thera, an ex-monk from Sri Lanka spreading Theravada Buddhism throughout Northern Thailand – who came bearing an “Heilig Relic”, believed by people at that time to help bring healing and peace among its adherents.
Over time, this temple compound has grown under various monarchs’ rule. Additions like King Mengrai’s Ceredi in 16th Century and Assembly Hall by King Kawila during 19th Century are evidence of its expansion. Today it serves as both a repository for important Buddhist relics as well as spiritual hub for local community.
Temple also hosts regular “Monk Chat” sessions where tourists can interact with monks and learn more about Buddhism and Thai culture from them. Organised by Chiang Mai campus of Maha Chulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University, these chats are an engaging way for visitors to immerse themselves into local culture. Furthermore, meditation retreats are hosted for those wishing to experience tranquility of living a meditative lifestyle.
Wat Suan Dok is an extraordinary temple boasting an extraordinary collection of significant structures. Of special note is its 48-meter golden chedi, constructed in Sri Lankan style to contain a relic of Buddha; surrounding it are several smaller white chedis which house several generations of royal family members from Chiang Mai; these unique cemeteries began being brought together when Princess Dara Rasmi requested that all her ancestors’ remains be brought together from different palaces and temples around town in response to her request from Princess Dara Rasmi who requested that their remains be collected together from various palaces and temples throughout Chiang Mai;
Sala Kan Prian, one of the largest sermon halls found anywhere, can be found within this temple compound. Unique to it is its open layout allowing visitors to view all aspects of its building from every side. Inside are several main Buddha statues such as one sitting with Bhumisparsha Mudra and two standing with straw bundles looking in opposite directions.
Viharns were originally used by monks as places where they could receive ordination and stay to perform rituals for worshippers, as well as offer prayers and hold meetings about Buddhist concepts. Today, however, they serve more as prayer spaces as well as venues where some individuals meet monks to discuss what Buddhism entails.
In 1370, King Kue Na first established this temple by commissioning monks to teach Theravada Buddhism principles. Subsequent Lanna monarchs attempted to expand Theravada’s influence throughout northern Thailand through various temples they established themselves. King Mengrai of Lanna in the 16th century added a chedi, while in the 19th century his son Kawila constructed an assembly hall. Both projects reflect their influence, as does the temple which serves as a repository of precious relics like an esteemed Buddha image and several Lanna kings’ ashes buried here. Local Buddhists as well as tourists flock here and spend hours exploring its sprawling grounds – you can either do it independently or join an organized tour that covers all its major features.
Wat Suan Dok’s main pagoda (known as its “chedi”) stands out amongst its temple compound buildings as one of its most noticeable structures. Notably larger than traditional viharns found elsewhere, its main pagoda stands out due to many unique features that set it apart. Furthermore, this building is open on all four sides – not often seen at other temples!
The Chiang Mai Cendar contains part of an ancient Buddhist relic and was constructed during King Kuena’s rule in 1370s after receiving word that Maha Sumanathera from Sukothai Kingdom had received vision telling him to bring this relic here to Chiang Mai to be worshipped.
This structure was the original building constructed on what had once been a Royal flower garden, and holds deep cultural and religious significance.
Dara Rasmi (wife of King Rama V and daughter of Lanna ruler Inthavichayanon) collected and placed cremation ashes of Royal members from Chiang Mai family into these whitewashed mausoleums at her palace in Chiang Mai; these unusual mausoleums can be found at the northwestern corner of temple grounds.
Mausoleums known as ubosot are typically the site of ordination ceremonies and similar events, making them quite extravagantly decorated – this particular temple’s Ubosot certainly fits this description with plenty of gold leaf detailing that creates an air of grandeur and grandeur.
At this temple is also home to a five-metre golden Buddha statue from the early 16th century that sits receptively. This reclining Buddha is seen as being very significant at this temple, often receiving special offerings and prayers as part of special rituals at that site.
Wat Suan Dok boasts many fascinating and eye-catching structures, and the ubosot is no exception – make sure you visit during your visit for this interactive temple to gain more knowledge about Buddhism by speaking with monks and participating in rituals. If you wish to attract more money into your life, rub the City God statue at Emperor Jade Pagoda then circle around it with a lit candle!
Wat Suan Dok is one of the city’s most important temples and home to Buddhist Maha Chulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University. Situated on Suthep road approximately one kilometre west from Chiang Mai’s moat at Suan Dok gate, this temple can easily be reached using public transport such as buses or tuk-tuks; bicycle rental services also regularly pass nearby for easy accessibility.
Ubosot, the main museum at this temple, contains various paintings and sculptures to provide visitors with more insight into Buddhism in Thailand and its history. Although admission to this museum is free, a donation would be much appreciated!
Thailand requires visitors to temples dress modestly when visiting, which involves covering shoulders and knees as well as taking steps such as taking off your shoes before entering main prayer halls. Please keep in mind that others may be praying or meditating when visiting, so visitors should remain quiet to respect their privacy.
Wat Suan Dok, commonly referred to as Wat Buppharam or Flower Garden Temple, was established by King Kue Na around 1370 or 1371. At that time he invited Sumana Thera of Sukhothai Monastery – also known as Sumana Thera from Sukhothai – who brought religion from Sukhothai into northern Thailand by way of an honorific monk named Sumana Thera who brought with him what is thought to be Buddha’s shoulder bone that was placed into a shrine built specifically to enshrine it forevermore.
Legend holds that a relic caused miraculous events which led the king to establish his royal flower garden here. Over time, however, it split into two pieces with one piece being placed at Wat Suan Dok temple as part of its permanent display.
Temple’s northern section features an unusual “cemetery”, consisting of numerous small white chedis containing cremated remains from Lanna royal family members who lived during its former heyday. Beginning in the early 20th century, Princess Dara Rasmi, consort to King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and daughter of Lanna King Inthawichayanon collected all cremated remains belonging to her husband and children from various burial locations within Bangkok, then brought them all here for final disposition.