Here’s a photo of a very bald but rather sweet Peruvian hairless dog looking a bit sleepy at Huaca Arco Iris temple, in Trujillo, Northern Peru.
This is an ancient breed. Although it is often perceived to be an Incan dog because it is known to have been kept during the Inca Empire, they were also kept as pets in pre-Inca cultures from the Peruvian coastal zone. Ceramic hairless dogs from the ChimÃº, Moche, and Vicus culture are well known. Depictions of Peruvian hairless dogs appear around 750 A.D. on Moche ceramic vessels and continue in later Andean ceramic traditions.
Last week (with my departure from Chiang Mai imminent) I made one last pilgrimage to my favourite temple in Chiang Mai – Wat Umong. Set in the jungle, nestled at the foot of Doi Suthep mountain a couple of kilometres to the West of Chiang Mai’s old city, it has a certain air of mystery about it that is absent from Chiang Mai’s other temples.
Wat Umong was built about 700 years ago and has a several unique features. As you walk into the temple grounds firstly you’ll see that the monks have written various wise proverbs on placards attached to the trees, written in both English and Thai. Some of these never fail to amuse me. Look out for “The mad dog hates water; the sex crazy man hates Dhama.”
Underneath the grass area housing the main Chedi, are a set of tunnels which give the Wat its name. Legend has it that a king built the brick-lined tunnels for a clairvoyant but sometimes eccentric monk named Thera Jan; paintings dating back to about 1380 can still be seen decorating the walls, and if you’re female and really lucky you may find yourself cornered by a rather ‘excitable’ monk. Tina was.
Close to the temples is a curious collection of Buddha heads and other relics from various temples in Thailand. This odd collection started when one of the temple’s supporters rescued some broken images from an abandoned temple in a nearby province and bought them here. Now, apparently, when people run across such relics or have a broken Buddha they want to replace, they bring them here.
Informal Dhamma discussions are held at Wat Umong on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 1pm and 3pm, and on Sundays between 3pm-5pm.
Wat Umong is the blue marker on the left on this map, and Chiang Mai’s old city is on the right:
Street dogs are probably the most common sight in Thailand (and other developing countries). Whether you travel to Chiang Mai as a tourist or live here, it is impossible to overlook the street dogs.
When I first arrived in Thailand, I was shocked to see so many dogs, some in terrible condition and I always feel really bad when I see them and am not able to help them with more than just a sausage from a near-by seven-eleven.
Karin Hawelka and Amandine Lecesne are two women who refused to ignore the problem. They set up ‘Care for Dogs’ in Chiang Mai. Their aim is to improve the life of street and temple dogs by organising sterilisations, vaccinations, and medical care. They also offer a home for approximately 80 homeless dogs and puppies until they find a new loving home for them.
If you want to adopt a dog, puppy or cat, volunteer, or support the group with donations or dog food – then contact 084-7525255 or 086-1855218, e-mail to email@example.com or visit www.carefordogs.org
Above is a video of the amazing dogs they take care off (and that are up for adoption if you offer a loving home). You can also listen to the very interesting interview with the founder of “Care for Dogs” Karin Hawelka if you do to: http://www.earthoria.com/care-for-dogs-shelter-chiang-mai.html
This video shows you the amazing Wat Umong temple in Chiang Mai.
Scenery: Peaceful land with lots of trees and shade on a hot day. You can feed the fish, turtles, and ducks in a large pond. The Wat is famous for its ancient tunnels and large stupa. Other attractions include a Buddha field of broken sculptures, a fasting Bodhisattva, a spiritual theatre of paintings, reproductions of ancient Buddhist sculptures from India, and a library-museum.
History: The monastery at Wat Umong is one of the oldest in Chiang Mai, dating back to 1300 A.D. The fable goes that a king built the brick-lined tunnels for an eccentric monk named Thera Jan. Once upon a time there were paintings decorated on the wall which dated back to about 1380. You can enter the tunnels to see the small shrines inside (a flashlight is useful). The adjoining stupa was constructed about 1520 over an earlier stupa (1400-1550). The monastery was eventually abandoned, though Japanese troops were said to have a stronghold here during World War 2. Since 1948, the Thai prince Jao Chun Sirorot has been active in rebuilding and reestablishing the monastery. In 1949 he invited Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (founder of Suan Mokkh in southern Thailand) to come and live in the monastery. Obligations kept Buddhadasa Bhikkhu from coming and instead he sent Ajahn Pannananda and other monks to help set up and run Wat Umong.
Getting there: Wat Umong is located 3.5 km west of Chiang Mai. From Suandok Gate (the West gate of the old city) you drive up Suthep road (approximately 2, 5 km West) and cross Canal road. About half a kilometer after Canal road, there is a sign on your left hand side which leads you to Wat Umong. From here follow the signs south 1 km to the Wat. The easiest way is by tuk-tuk, scooter or bicycle.