Phra That Si Chom Thong, Chomthong, Chiang Mai Province
Year of the Rat: About 59 kms south of Chiang Mai, on the same road for Doi Inthanon, you will reach Phra That Si Chom Thong. This is one of the most important shrines in Chiang Mai Province as it houses a holy Buddha relic. Normally, relics are buried inside a chedi, however, here it is enshrined inside a container in the main hall. This relic is believed to part of the right side of the Buddha’s head. According to legend, the Buddha once came to the hilltop where this temple now stands and he foretold that the place would later house a holy relic. The relic was apparently found in 1452 and a temple was built on the hill at Doi Din Thong to enshrine it. When I visited the temple earlier this year, I was disappointed to see that the chedi was covered in scaffolding as they were renovating. I had made a special trip down from Chiang Mai just to visit this temple. But, at least I could pay respects to the holy relic in the nearby hall. This is an important shrine for people born in the Year of the Rat. As Doi Inthanon is nearby, you could combine a trip to the highest mountain in Thailand with this temple. Hopefully when you go the renovations are over. The pictures I have seen of the golden chedi are really beautiful. Incidently, the temple building below prohibits women entering. It seems to be common in northern Thailand to see signs stopping women entering sacred shrines.