Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chiang Mai is.....

Before I leave on my two week exploritory  trekk into Laos, let me give you a glimps of Chiang Mai....

Once a walled city, Tha Phae Gate is the entrance to the old city of Chiang Mai.

The moat, the first line of defense, with the ancient wall being the second, continues to protect the old city and divides it from the new Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai is a city filled with old stupas and Buddhist temples.

Enormous golden stupa, enshrining Buddhist relics (sacred figures, writings, bone fragments of highly respected monks) can be found at many of the Chiang Mai temples.

A city where the Phra Naga protects the entrance to the temples.

Elaborate Buddhist temples can be found nestled amoung the office and residential buildings throughout the city. 
Buddhist history enshined in temples.... the figure of Ajaan Mun, considered to be the most highly respected monk in recent Thai history.  Ajaan Mun practiced  Therevadan meditation throughout Thailand, Myanmar and Laos during the late 1800 and early 1900s.    

"105"  noted the monk as he looked at my right palm.  "You will live to be 105!"  This was said to me, at the end of the Buddhist blessing the monk performed.  Looping a long piece of cord around my neck and asking me to hold onto it and make a wish, as the monk held the other end of the cord.  For a couple of minutes, the monk chanted as he sprinkled water on my head, from a small reed type broom.

I found a garden restaurant, just a block from the Pagoda Inn where I'm staying.  Fresh coffee from Laos, and the best Thai food I've ever eaten!

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