Dedicated to Guanyin, Kuan Im Chokchai is one of the weirdeste temples in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but one of the most playful. The lady is one of the most important deities of the Chinese Buddhist pantheon. She is goddess of fecundity and mercy, comforts the troubled, the sick, the lost, the senile and the unfortunate and is regarded as the protector of seafarers, farmers and travellers. She cares for souls in the underworld, and is invoked during post-burial rituals to free the soul of the deceased from the torments of purgatory. In other words, and all round good egg. (Create a trio with Ganesh, god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth, the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride, and Saint Jude, Patron Saint of hope and impossible causes and you would probably have all your bets covered in both this world and the next.)
It isn’t the imagery of the lady herself that is the curiosity here but a 20 mtr-long dragon that sinuously weaves its way across the temple garden. Enter its gaping jaws and you begin a journey illustrating the life of Buddha beautifully painted on the curved and undulating walls, from birth through moustachioed young prince to enlightenment sat under a bodhi tree. A ferocious tiger is a shorter version of illustrated innards. Even for those sated with the overly ornate grandeur of most temples this is a pleasant spot that combines Disneyland with deity and comes out winning.
GPS. 18.760387 98.989176