Bee hives, money trees and floating Buddhas at Wat Prah That Doi Khao Kwai

I’ve already written a post about our visit to Wat Phra That Doi Khao Kwai, the temple devoted to Sihuhata, the four-eared, five-eyed local deity who has fascinated me since I first encountered odd versions of him in a Chiang Rai park.

There are so many interesting statues, paintings and decorations at the Sihuhata temple, I really couldn’t fit them all into one post. So I’m posting more of them here.

Money apparently does grow on trees, and hangs from banners, too, inside the main temple.

This painting in the temple reminds me of a book of short stories by a friend, Francesca Hampton: Buddha on a Midnight Sea.

A row of paper lanterns hangs from the ceiling in the main temple, waving gently in the breeze coming through wide open doors. And a giant honeycomb hangs from a gilded branch, with more gilding on the honeycomb itself.


I spotted this lovely little painting of cats while the resident monk at the temple was blessing a group of visitors. There were, in fact, a few cats living around the temple. As with most cats and dogs living at Thai temples, they looked contented and well fed.

Many Thai temples have a Hindu god or two. At Wat Phra That Doi Khao Kwai, this Hindu-looking sage sits behind the row of golden Buddhas next to the mirrored stupa. The Indra figure and eight-armed deity who looks like the Tibetan deity Vasudara have their own little temple to one side of the main temple.


This charming little old elephant of wood stands in front of the two golden images shown above. Its eroded state reminded me of a child’s bar of animal-shaped soap that’s losing its details, or a much-loved old stuffed animal.

I really liked the expression on the face of this kneeling figure, one of many around the base of the mirrored stupa.

I didn’t take the time in the long post about Wat Phra That Doi Khao Kwai to talk about this very long name. “Phra That” means “sacred element” and refers to the relic that’s housed in the wat’s mirrored stupa: the Buddha’s left little-finger bone. “Doi Khao Kwai” means “Buffalo Horn Mountain,” the name of the mountain/hill on which the wat was built.

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