Wat Chedi Luang
Location: 103 Phra Pok Klao Road | Phra Singh, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Reason to visit: 1000 years past & future, big historical significance, architecturally magnificence
Our ratings: ★★★★★
Entrance fee: 40 baht
Opening Hours: 6am – 6.30pm
Wat Chedi Luang is a Buddhist temple in the historic centre of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The current temple grounds were originally made up of three temples — Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Ho Tham and Wat Sukmin. There is a grand square pagoda in the temple, which was built in the early 15th century and has been built several times in the future, up to 85.4 meters. In 1545, a major earthquake and windstorm occurred in Chiang Mai, the spire of the stupa collapsed overnight, revealing the golden Buddha statue in the tower.
History of Wat Chedi Luang
The construction of the temple started in the 14th century, when King Saen Muang Ma planned to bury the ashes of his father there. After 10 years of building time it was left unfinished, later to be continued after the death of the king by his widow. Probably due to stability problems it took until the mid-15th century to be finished during the reign of king Tilokaraj. It was then 82 m high and had a base diameter of 54 m, at that time the largest building of all Lanna. In 1468, the Emerald Buddha was installed in the eastern niche. In 1545, the upper 30 m of the structure collapsed after an earthquake, and shortly thereafter, in 1551, the Emerald Buddha was moved to Luang Prabang.
In the early 1990s the chedi was reconstructed, financed by UNESCO and the Japanese government. However the result is somewhat controversial, as some claim the new elements are in Central Thai style, not Lanna style. For the 600th anniversary of the chedi in 1995, a copy of the Emerald Buddha made from black jade was placed in the reconstructed eastern niche. The icon is named official Phra Phut Chaloem Sirirat, but is commonly known as Phra Yok.
What to expect?
Wat Chedi Luang will be more astonishing than the photos. You will be shocked by its unique historical vicissitude. The broken beauty of the building and old masonry will give you a historical feeling. If you go to Wat Chedi Luang in the evening, basically there is no one. Looking at the building in the sunset, the feeling will be much deeper. Just close your eyes, embrace the breeze, you will enjoy meditating in silence. Monks are accessible if you want to talk with them and learn about Buddhism and temple history.