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.

7 comments

  1. 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!

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  2. 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 πŸ™‚

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