Swayambhunath Stupa at Chiang Mai’s Asorm Phrom Thada temple

Explore Swayambhunath Stupa in Northern Thailand For A Different Temple Experience

Swayambhunath Stupa at Asorm Phrom Thada

Temples in Thailand

Words & Photos:
Chamlong Boonsong
Published: September 12, 2018

Perched atop a hill just outside the city of Kathmandu, Swayambhunath Stupa is one of Nepal’s most important Buddhist sites. Known to tourists as the Monkey Temple, it is around 2,000 years old. On the spire at the top of the temple are painted, on four sides, Buddha’s eyes that stare out across Kathmandu Valley in the cardinal directions.

Swayambhunath Stupa at Asorm Phrom Thada

These ‘wisdom eyes’ are interpreted by many as a representation of kindness and intelligence or as the benevolence of a righteous ruler.

This symbolism is commonly found in countries of Mahayana Buddhism. For example, at Cambodia’s Angkor Thom temple, where the faces of rulers or kings look outward to protect the wellbeing of their people in all directions.

In Chiang Mai province in northern Thailand, there is Asorm Phrom Thada temple in the village of Mae Tiea in Doi Kaeo, Chom Thong.

Inside Swayambhunath Stupa Chiang Mai

Inside the temple’s Swayambhunath Stupa are several Tibetan-style paintings of Mahayana Buddhism, a highlight being the depiction of a giant eating living creatures in the cycle of birth and death or ‘the Law of Dependent Origination’. Outside are statues (images) of Hindu gods and ‘arhat’ of Chinese Mahayana.

The temple’s monks explain that the prophet of all religions are the ‘wisdom eyes”.

Asorm Phrom Thada Chiang Mai

Asorm Phrom Thada’s location about 60 km from Chiang Mai city may deter some from visiting, but for those who do there’s a different temple experience to be enjoyed than that of Chiang Mai’s many other temples.