Wat Chedi Luang
Location: 103 Phra Pok Klao Road Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200
Also called the Temple of the Great Stupa, Wat Chedi Lung is one of the prominent Chiang Mai temples. With its imposing pagoda, Wat Chedi Luang is a treat for the eyes.
It is one of the tallest buildings in the old city and famous for its Lanna styled Chedi which lends an interesting feature to the architecture of this renowned temple in Chiang Mai.
In its day, Wat Chedi Luang must have been the most impressive temple in Chiang Mai. Built about 600 years ago, the huge chedi which gave the temple its name (the name of the temple translates to “royal pagoda”) must have soared high above the surrounding city.
Chedi was mostly destroyed within a few hundred years of its construction. Some say it was an earthquake in the seventeenth century that did the deed; others say it was King Taksin’s cannons firing on the city to chase out the Burmese in the eighteenth century.
The pagoda has been partially reconstructed, but the spire has not been recreated since nobody can be sure what it looked like.
Wat Chedi Luang was also important because for a short time it housed the most important object in Thailand, the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha is now in its own temple in Bangkok, but a few years ago the king donated a replica to be placed in the eastern niche of the chedi.
The other niches are occupied by stone Buddha images. On the southern side, the base is decorated with elephant statues. To the west of the pagoda is a small open shed housing a reclining Buddha image. There are often artists offering their wares in stalls on the large plaza of the chedi.
Inside the main prayer hall, the altar is backed by a magnificent standing Buddha. Round whitewashed columns support an unfinished wood roof. However, the hall was in the middle of a “radical makeover” in August 2007, so the view may change soon.