Situated west of the old city, Wat Suan Dok was built in 1371 in the garden of King Kuna, to house the Great Relics of the Lord Buddha, which had originally been kept in Sukhothai. Wat Suan Dok roughly translates to “field of flowers”. The temple is unusual for a number of reasons, the most noticeable being the vast size of the viharn. In addition, unlike any other viharn in Chiang Mai or even Thailand, both ends of the structure are open as opposed to being enclosed.
Within the temple grounds is a large assemblage of ornate white-washed reliquaries that contain the relics of nine Princes and one Princess of Chiang Mai, as well as their direct descendants.
As a rule of thumb, chedis will almost always contain the relics of a Buddhist whilst the largest and most important chedis will contain relics of the Buddha himself. At Wat Suan Dok the largest chedi contains a relic that supposedly duplicates itself! One of these duplicated relics was put on a royal white elephant which was allowed to wander around the nearby mountains. Chiang Mai’s most holiest temple, Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, was built on the site that the elephant eventually came to rest