“Wualai” is well known as Chiang Mai’s traditional silver-making district. A less well known gem is Sri Suphan Temple. The temple is the silver shrine of the city, and the only temple of this kind in Thailand. Hidden south of the old town, this quiet and beautiful temple is located at walking distance from the Saturday Walking Street.
Sri Suphan temple was built in 1502, although little remains of the original temple except the boundary markers (sema stones) around the ordination hall (ubosot). In fact the chapel is now the focus of the temple and the centerpiece for the silver village. The entire surface of the hall, inside and out, is now being covered in silver. The roof is already covered in silverplated tiles, and the exterior walls with beaten silver panels. The interior of the temple presents some finely crafted reliefs depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology. Unfortunately, women are not allowed to enter inside the main ordination hall, as holy objects and amulets are kepts beneath the base of the ordination hall. But the outside of the hall is spectacular and there are hundreds of things to see in the temple area.
Apart from being a famous temple, Wat Sri Suphan is also an important center for handicrafts. It preserves the tradition of Chiang Mai’s silversmiths. Techniques are handed down to the new generation at the Ancient Lanna Arts Study Center, which is located within the temple area. Villagers and monks work together on beautiful paterns that decorate the temple.
Each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Ajahn Suthep teaches meditation and also holds a Questions & Answer Monk Chat in English. The meeting is held from 17.30- 19.30, followed by Introduction to Dynamic Meditation from 19.30 to 21.00 (donation 150 THB). Ajahn Suthep has been a monk for thirty years and taught at Buddhist temples in Singapore and Malaysia before moving back to Thailand and basing himself at Sri Suphan temple.
If visiting on a Saturday, don’t miss finishing your visit with a tour of the Saturday Walking Street Market, where you can enjoy delicious food, while viewing a selection of the cutest Chiang Mai handicrafts, designed by locals and students.
Sri Suphan Tample :
Wualai Road, T. Haiya, Mueang Chiang Mai District