The Wat Phra That Doi Kham is an attractive not much visited temple known for its 17 meters high Buddha image. The temple that was built towards the end of the 7th century sits on top of a forested hill just outside of Chiang Mai. The name of the Wat means golden mountain temple.
The oldest structure of the Wat Phra That Doi Kham temple is the chedi (pagoda), that was constructed in the year 687. It shares many characteristics with the chedi of the better known Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, that is found a little more to the North.
Huge golden colored Naga serpents guard the stairs on both sides of the pagoda that is enclosed by a gate. The chedi enshrines a sacred relic of the Buddha. A local legend tells about two giants who lived in the Doi Kham area thousands of years ago and who were said to be cannibals. When the Buddha visited the area he convinced the giants to give up cannibalism and convert to Buddhism. The Buddha gave them a relic of his hair, that is now enshrined in the temple’s chedi.
When the chedi collapsed in 1966 after heavy rain, local people discovered a number of Buddha images inside the damaged structure. Funds were then raised and the chedi restored