5. Elephants are the symbol of Thailand

Real #elephants may no longer abound in #Thailand, but they’re everywhere in its #handicrafts. 

Elephants, who adorn embroidered pillow covers, silk scarves, t-shirts, carved wooden figures, art works, and statues, are the #symbol of Thailand. Besides India and its peacocks, I’d never seen a country so identify with an #animal.

In #ChiangMai, a city in northern #Thailand surrounded by rugged hills, a 1 ¼ hour flight from #Bangkok but seemingly a world away, an elephant even chose the site for its most important #Buddhist #temple. 

Atop a 3,500-foot mountain, overlooking the city, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep features a gold-plated stupa, or mound containing #relics, built in 1384, and 30 outdoor murals depicting scenes from the #Buddha’s life. Seeking a good spot to house a relic of #Buddha, King Kue Na let his white #elephant roam the hills.

The elephant trumpeted three times at the foot of this mountain, climbed the top, trumpeted three more times, turned counter-clockwise three times, and then lay down. #Murals inside the lavishly ornate temple depict the elephant’s quest.

#travel #faith #religion

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