The blessing of Chiang Mai

Written by on April 8, 2014 in Asia, Blog, Expat Life, Thailand - 7 Comments

Living in Chiang Mai, I am constantly treated to spectacular visual beauty, thanks to the hundreds of temples and religious activities which regularly occur here. Any given morning, en route to work, I get to see people praying to monks and offering alms to them to bring back to their respective temples.

The beauty of Buddhism is constantly on display in the city I call “home.”

Today is no exception.

Chiang Mai monks making pilgrimage

The first of 500 Dhutanga monks enters the shot.

In fact, today (April 9), is a very special day for Chiang Mai. Today, 500 Dhutanga monks came to offer reverence to Buddha’s relics. Beginning at 9 a.m. at Wat Phra Singh, the monks started their procession through the city, along parts of the moat and into markets, ending at Wat Chedi Luang Woraviharn.

The Chiang Mai pilgrimage in April

Locals line the moat near Thapae Gate with flower petals and await the monks.

Blessings in Chiang Mai

While it is not easy to gather a lot of information about the event, I was lucky enough to be handed a flyer with some details:

“In the Buddha time, there was once a natural disaster in the city of Vesali causing many people’s lives. The citizens also suffered greatly from the outbreak of cholera and the epidemic of the devils. They so agreed to invite the Lord Buddha and His 500 disciple monks to bless the city. Before their arrival, people of the city cleaned and decorated streets and places beautifully with flowers to welcome their noble guests. With the power of the Lord Buddha, the disaster was obviated. The sick regain their normalcy. The devils were dispersed. The celestial King Sakka and other important celestial beings came to have an audience with Lord Buddha at this particular time, causing the land being blessed by their celestial power.”

Monks in Chiang Mai

Dhutanga monks in Chiang Mai

There is something quite awe-inspiring seeing 500 monks, clothed in orange, walk a top a sea of yellow petals while people pray. Truly a beautiful experience.

The Chiang Mai pilgrimage

The feet of monks in Chiang Mai

This special day falls a mere few days from the most well-known event in Thailand — Songkran. In just three days (although the official start of Songkran is April 13), the city will turn into a massive water fight zone.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Spain. Previously, she lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she worked for Save Elephant Foundation and Elephant Nature Park, an organization dedicated to rescuing elephants and raising awareness about responsible elephant tourism. A former career breaker and long-term solo traveler,  today, Diana is a responsible elephant tourism expert and the co-founder of #RTTC, the Responsible Travel & Tourism Collective, which includes a weekly chat on Twitter focusing on responsible tourism. She has spoken about responsible tourism at TBEX Europe and Asia and has appeared as an elephant tourism expert in numerous documentaries. Recently, Diana was featured in an episode of House Hunters International. She is a regular contributor to Top 10 Vegas, and her writing has appeared in, Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Luna Luna, Vegas Seven, World Nomads, Viator, CheapOair, OneTravel and more.

7 Comments on " The blessing of Chiang Mai "

  1. Erin April 9, 2014 at 4:53 am · Reply

    This looks amazing – the colours are so spectacular. What a beautiful ceremony!

    • Diana April 10, 2014 at 2:58 am · Reply

      Thank you, Erin. It was a really cool event.

  2. Candice Gleeson April 10, 2014 at 5:04 pm · Reply

    Okay I’ve just spent the past two days binge reading your blog! I have basically just done what you did in the beginning – a month after turning 30, I took a deep breath, made some big decisions and gave everything at home (Australia) up to move to the UK so that I can explore and adventure across here and Europe. I’ve loved reading all about your jaunts and now I’m even more excited to start my own trips around EU. And now I’m thinking about Thailand eventually, you’ve inspired me!

    • Diana April 17, 2014 at 3:37 am · Reply

      Awww! That is awesome! I love this!! Let me know if you come here!!

  3. Tee | Rotten One April 18, 2014 at 4:15 am · Reply

    Hi Diana! I am so jealous of this experience, I’m sure the photos don’t do it near justice as to how it probably was in real life. I recently went solo backpacking in Europe and decided to move to Berlin afterwards, and now I am saving up to backpack Asia! This post has got me more excited about it :)

    • Diana April 22, 2014 at 5:41 am · Reply

      It was really cool to see it live! Berlin is one of my favorite spots!! Asia is incredible — let me know if you are heading to Chiang Mai!

  4. Candice Gleeson April 19, 2014 at 6:04 am · Reply

    I will, definitely! :)

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