Naphamethinidon and Naphaphonphumisiri, the two Chedis near the summit of Doi Inthanon
|Elevation||2,565 m (8,415 ft)|
|Prominence||1,850 m (6,070 ft)|
|Listing||Country high point
|Location||Chiang Mai, Thailand|
Doi Inthanon (Thai: ดอยอินทนนท์ (Pronunciation)) is the highest mountain in Thailand. It is located in Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai Province. This mountain is an ultra prominent peak and was also known in the past as Doi Luang (meaning big mountain) or Doi Ang Ka, meaning the crow's pond top. Near the mountain's base was a pond where many crows gathered. The name Doi Inthanon was given in honour of the king Inthawichayanon, one of the last kings of Chiang Mai, who was concerned about the forests in the north and tried to preserve them. He ordered that after his death his remains shall be placed at Doi Luang, which was then renamed.
Today, the summit of Doi Inthanon is a popular tourist destination for both foreign and Thai tourists, with a peak of 12,000+ visitors visiting the summit on New Year's Day. In addition to a range of tourist facilities on the summit, there is also a Royal Thai Air Force weather radar antenna on the summit.
Doi Inthanon is the peak of Inthanon Range (Thai: ทิวเขาอินทนนท์) of the Thanon Thong Chai Range, a subrange of Shan Hills in the Thai highlands stretching southwards from the Daen Lao Range. This range, the southwesternmost of the Shan Highland system, separates the Salween watershed from the Mekong watershed. Other high peaks of the Loi Lar Mountain Range are Doi Luang Chiang Dao (2,175 m), Doi Pui (1,685 m), and Doi Suthep (1,601 m).
In 1954, the forests around Doi Inthanon were preserved, creating Doi Inthanon National Park, as one of the original 14 National parks of Thailand. This park now covers 482.40 km² and spreads from the lowlands at 800 m altitude up to the peak at 2565 m. The summit experiences average year-round temperatures in the low to mid teens (Celsius) and high humidity. It is not uncommon for the temperature to drop below zero during the winter months. Given the varied climatic and ecological areas regions, the park supports a range of animal species including over 360 bird species.
On the lower slope of Doi Inthanon, near the Karen hill tribe village Ban Sop Had, are the Wachirathan waterfalls (Thai: น้ำตกวชิรธาร), where the Wachirathan (lit. "Diamond Creek") tumbles over a granite escarpment.
The two Chedis
On the main road to the summit of Doi Inthanon stand the two Chedis against each other; one called Naphamethinidon (นภเมทินีดล), meaning 'by the strength of the land and air', and the other, Naphaphonphumisiri (นภพลภูมิสิริ), meaning 'being the strength of the air and the grace of the land'. These temples were built to honour the 60th birthday anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1987, and the 60th birthday anniversary of Queen Sirikit in 1992, respectively.
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