The Watts of Los Angeles (for those of you who don’t about Watts, L.A. click here
) are very different than the Wats of Chiang Mai. A “Wat” in Thai means “temple” and in Thailand this means a Buddhist temple. There seem to be countless Wats in Chiang Mai and almost every time we turn a corner another beautiful structure appears. We had our first Wat experience within hours of arriving in Chiang Mai. Later we discovered it is called Wat Buppharam:
Here is Ligeia sitting on the steps leading up to the temple:
This particular Wat is famous for its dragon heads which are rather hard to forget:
Adjacent to all the Wats we’ve seen is a stupa with statues of Buddha and a place where people can leave an offering:
The offerings usually include incense and flowers and fruit.
We’ve also seen some things that we just can’t explain, like this statue just outside a Wat very close to our apartment building. Clearly we still have a lot to learn.
The Wats seem to be a place where birds congregate. One even had lots of bird poop everywhere near it. But Buddha doesn’t seem to mind:
One thing that seems to be different about each Wat we visit are the doors. They range in both material and subject matter. This one is a carved wooden door featuring elephants…
…whereas these doors are golden featuring what looks to be warriors:
Inside every Wat is a large statue of Buddha surrounded by many little statues of him…
…and in the case of the Wat Phra Singh, established in 1345 and considered the “star amid the old city’s famous temples”, statues of what looks to be famous monks. If you’ll notice there is an actual monk sitting among the statues. He was so still that we actually thought he was a more life-like statue at first. We had never seen a person sit that still – we saw no breathing, no blinking and no muscle twitches and we stayed for at least 20 minutes! We’d never seen someone more at peace.
Here is a particularly lovely Wat just off the “walking street” (every Sunday evening) where a mother is introducing Buddhism to her young child.
Many Wats have a huge gong just outside of them…
…and some have bells. From our time in Tibet, we learned that it is common in Buddhism to walk in a clockwise path, ringing each bell as you go.
We both have really enjoyed exploring the city’s Wats that seem to appear out of nowhere and all look different:
Ligeia likes the animals they often feature the most.
And just when we thought we had seen everything, we run into this:
We have a feeling that there is still so much more to discover here in Chiang Mai so we meet each wrong turn with enthusiasm as you never know just what we might find that we didn’t even know we were looking for!
Lots of love and thanks for following our adventures!
Ligeia and Mindy :):)