Wat Chalermprakiat, mountain temple
Wat Chalermprakiat brings us closer to the heavens – or to the sky if you wish. Truly an amazing feat as it has taken an abbot of a Phayao temple and 40 or so believers from that province and locals from Chaehom in Lampang only several years from 2004 to complete most of what we are seeing today (2015).
Wat Chalermprakiat was built to commemorate King Rama IV of Rattanakosin dynasty’s 200th anniversary.
One must navigate an 800-meter climb through iron stairs some as steep as 35 degree angles or sharper to reach one or two pagodas perched on top of Pu Yak mountain that are currently open to the public.
Just the same even if all pagodas were opened to public access many able-bodied visitors will find it extremely challenging to reach the pagodas resting on mountain tops. There are no stairs to help the climb — only dirt roads and shrubs and rocks to hold on to.
The people building the pagodas must have tapped on tons of their determination and deep reserve of physical strength to do what they have done.
Whether one is a Buddhist or not, religious or not, taking the hike is worth it. One can truly feel the greatness of this place and really appreciate what the people behind the scene have accomplished.
The Wat can be segmented into three levels. Let’s call the first level the ground-base where visitors can park their cars and take a rough and not-so-rough 10-15-minute ride up to the middle level. One can’t help but hear and feel how the pickup trucks are tormented on going up or down the single lane road connecting the ground-base to the middle level.
From the middle level visitors can either start the 800 meters climb to the upper level or take a detour down to visit the pavilion of Guanyin Bodhisattva that showcases a 49-inch Uthong Udomsup Buddha image containing relics of the Lord Buddha.
There are also gigantic foot prints in the pavilion which are sacred to Buddhists.
Wat Chalermprakiat is one of four wats with similar build profile completed by Phrathep Visutthiyarn (Luangpor Paiboon Sumungkalo), abbot of Wat Analayo Thippayaram (Doi Bussarakum) in Phayao province.
Wat Chalermprakiat video