Wat Suan Dork
Chiang Mai Attractions | Chiang Mai attractions and temples
Wat Suan Dork originally lay in a fortified square beyond the city walls. Legends tell that King Ku Na invited the venerable Sumana Thera, a very pious monk from Sukhothai to bring the Buddhism of Sri Lanka to Chiang Mai. The King offered him the royal flower garden (Suan Dork) as a place to build a temple. The temple was established in 1371.
Wat Suan Dork should house a very holy Buddhist relic brought from Sukothai. On arrival the relic miraculously split in half. The other part is buried at Doi Suthep.
The main viharn was rebuilt in the early 1930's by Khru Ba Srivichai. A large Buddha image with a hand in the position for holding straw stands back to back with the main seated image. The images took on their present shape under Khru Ba Srivichai.
A smaller viharn to the south contains a seated Buddha image - the Phra Chao Kao Tue - cast by King Muang Kaew in 1504.
The Lanna style image stands 4.7 meters tall and is made up of nine pieces. The walls of the viharn are decorated with murals showing the previous lives of the Buddha (the Vessantara Jataka may be seen on the upper level of the north wall).
West of the main viharn numerous chedi contain the remains of the royal family of Chiang Mai. These were collected from different sites in the city and placed there at the wish of Princess Dararatsmi in 1909. The compound also contains the northern campus of the Maha Chulalongkorn Buddhist University of the Mahanikai sect. A wall with tall ornamental gates surrounds the compound, and the remains of earthen walls that once surrounded the fortified monastery can still be seen on the opposite side of the road.