It was originally built in one of the Lawa people’s walled settlement and is older than Chiang Mai itself. The Lawa people are an ethnic group from northern Thailand, they are still not integrated into the Thai society, and today they live in the mountains, north of Chiang Mai.
Wat Suan Dok means The flower garden temple. Wat=tempel, Suan=garden and Dok=flower. The original name of the temple was Wat Buppharam Dok Mai because of King Kue Na had his flower garden there, Dok Mai means flowers, were “dok” only means flower.
The legend says, a monk from the Sukhothai Kingdom, Manha Sumana Thera had a vision where he discovered a relic from the Buddha, in the vision is was said the relic was to be housed in what we now know as Chiang Mai.
The monk Manha Sumana Thera, stayed 2 years outside Lamphun as a guest of the king while the king had the temple built.
When the time came and the relic had to be moved to the new temple, a miracle happened. The relic duplicated it selves.
The original relic was to be placed as planned in Wat Suan Dok.
The duplicate was to be placed on the back of a white elephant, the elephant climbed Doi Suthep a the mountain towering over Chiang Mai´s west side. Suddenly on it’s way up the mountain the elephant trumpeted three times and died. here was Wat Doi Suthep build and the duplicate of the relic placed.
Wat Suan Dok Chedi is 48 meters high and is built in Sri Lankan style, and the relic of the Buddha is said to be placed inside the Chedi. The Wat is located 1,3 kilometer or about 15 minutes walk away from the middle gate in the west side of Chiang Mai old city wall.
In the temple compound, you will find a grouping of whitewashed mausoleums. They contain the ashes of the families of old Chiang Mai Kings.