Chiang Mai's Mesmerizing Silver Temple

Wat Sri Suphan

It is not wrong to say that Thailand is a country of temples that reflects Buddhism and Buddha's ideology. In almost every province of Thailand, temples are abundant. In these temples, doctrines of Buddha are observed, and characteristics of Buddha are taught. Among these temples of wisdom and knowledge, there is a temple at the heart of Thai city called Chiang Mai. This temple is called Wat Sri Suphan. Due to its physical attributes, especially the mad-crafted silver decoration, this temple is famously known as the “Silver Temple.”

The Silver Temple or Wat Sri Suphan is one of the attractive temples in Chiang Mai. It was built on the well-known street called “Saturday Walking,” which is in downtown Chiang Mai. Wat Sri Suphan is fully covered in silver. From walls to roof to even the statues of Buddha, everything in the temple and outside the temple is silver. In other words, the temple inhales and exhales silver. Detailed work of Buddhism, its myths, and legends have been carved out on the temple’s pillars and wooden area.


Silver Temple Chiang Mai


History of Wat Sri Suphan

The Silver Temple is one of the oldest temples in Thailand. The temple was built during the reign of the Mangrai Dynasty. The eleventh King of Lanna, named Phra Muang Kaew, who ruled almost between 1495 and 1525, made the Wat Sri Suphan. The primary purpose of this temple was for a silversmith village to practice their belief.

Several renovations had been done to the temple since its construction. Over time, many parts of the temple were renovated through silver from the local village. At the beginning of the year 2008, Wat Sri Suphan was covered entirely with silver. The inside of the temple is quite decorative, shiny, and reflective.

The Core of All the Temples

Chiang Mai is very popular for its temples. It has tons, yes, tons of temples. For instance, there are more than three hundred temples just in the central area of Chiang Mai. Most of the temples are gold and red in outlook. All temples are distinctive, splendorous, and astonishing in their attributes. However, the Silver Temple of Chiang Mai has toppled the table and became the north's brightest star. Wat Sri Suphan can be described in one sentence that it is right to say that Wat Sri Suphan is like the moon among the stars.


Wat Sri Suphan


The Building and Its Concept

Wat Sri Suphan is an exquisite and unique reflection of traditional Lanna architecture aligned with a modern art interpretation. From every angle, Silver Temple is simply and purely a master art. Alongside silver, other materials like aluminum and nickel were also used in the construction of the temple. On several areas where silver construction was not possible, aluminum was used. Holy images, statues of Buddha, and delicate architectural elements were designed by silver.

Though the Silver Temple is small but is a striking silver building. Every detail, major or minor, is grandiose and precise. These details are so accurate and balanced that no one could escape without investing a couple of minutes to see them. The whole temple depicts the essential moments of Buddha’s life. When visitors tour the temple completely, they see figures that display religious mythologies, the zodiac animals, and rural life.


The Art of Silver Temple


The Silver Shrine

It is also an interesting element that how Wat Sri Suphan got its silver shining. When it was built around 1500, it was not as silver as it is now. After some significant and minor renovations, the temple went through a series of redesigns. In the last renovating project, expertise and knowledge of local silversmiths were incorporated. When sun rays strike the silver building, it creates a fantastic atmosphere that proves to be the most beautiful moment. At night, when moonlight falls on the Silver Temple, the aura is not less than the magical scene of a fairytale.


Silver Building of Wat Sri Suphan


Prohibited Entry for Women

Unfortunately, women are not permitted to enter Wat Sri Suphan as it is an old Lanna tradition. This tradition is still observed. Let’s decode the origin theory behind the women’s ban on entering.

According to Lanna’s Belief, there are plenty of precious ornaments and holy objects almost five hundred years old. If a woman enters the temple, it could result in deteriorating the temple or the lady herself. That is why women are not allowed to visit the Silver Temple.

However, it is essential to mention here that the Lanna belief does not affect Thailand’s concept of gender equality. Women are free to enjoy their rights in almost every field of life.

Monk Chat

In the Silver Temple, visitors have a chance to talk and hold a conversation with English-speaking monks. These sessions of conversation are held on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The main purpose of these “monk chats” is for the meditation of the visitors.


Monks in Wat Sri Suphan