Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
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Explore the Golden Temple
From Chiang Mai, you can see the glittering stupas of this golden Buddhist temple on the hillside 15 km outside the city. According to legend, a Thai king placed a relic (a piece of Buddha's shoulder bone) on the back of a white elephant and instructed it to find a place to enshrine this relic. The elephant stopped at what is now the location of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, turning clockwise in three circles to mark the spot. A grand, golden tower was erected in the spot to house the relic. Today, visitors can say prayers and walk in clockwise circles around the stupa to cement their prayers. A Buddhist monk is frequently there to offer blessings to visitors, whether religious or not. He will say a prayer, bless you with holy water, and tie a pure, white cotton cord around your wrist in exchange for alms. Many visitors also choose to purchase at the foot of the temple a small bell to hang in the courtyard to carry on their prayers. Although a tram will carry you up the steep hillside to the temple, for the full experience, on your return descend the stairs to take in the views of the countryside and the street vendors.
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