Compare Tours & Attraction Ticket Prices from Top Travel Sites
Wat Chedi Luang
See the Grand Architecture of Chiang Mai on Wat Chedi Luang
The construction of Wat Chedi Luang began in the 14th century, when King Saen Muang Ma wanted to build a stupa for the ashes of his father. However, after 10 years, the building had not finished and it was left uncomplete. The completion itself was conducted by his widow after he passed away. The building of Wat Chedi Luang took a very long time, and it was finally finished in the middle of the 15th century, during the reign of King Tilokaraj. Wat Chedi Luang was built with the height of 82 metres and a base diameter of 54 metres, making this building was the largest building in Lanna during that time. The emerald Buddha was then placed inside this temple in 1468.
The greatness of Wat Chedi Luang was greatly damaged when the earthquake took place in 1545. The earthquake caused the upper 30 metres of the temple, almost half of it, collapsed. Then in 1551, the emerald Buddha that was placed in the eastern niche was moved to Luang Prabang. Reconstruction to Wat Chedi Luang was conducted in early 1990s with the finance from UNESCO and the Japanese government. However, the result of the reconstruction was pretty controversial because the new elements added were using Central Thai style, while the original building was built in Lanna style.
The restoration that was done in 1990s by the Fine Arts Department brings back the decoration that can be seen on the outer part of the temple, including the statues of naga, or water serpent, that are situated on the staircase leading to the inner part of the temple. There are also some elephant statues on the base of the temple. In 1995, during its 600th anniversary, Wat Chedi Luang also received a copy of the Emerald Buddha made from black jade that is placed in the eastern niche, where the original emerald statue was housed. The icon is named Phra Phut Chaloem Sirirat, though people commonly known it as Phra Yok. Though many parts were restored, the temple itself was never really completed and left it as it is now.
Wat Chedi Luang has two viharns in its area. The first one is a large building with a three tiered roof that was built in 1928. The golden front facade shines beautifully especially during sunset. This viharn has a large standing Buddha statue named Phra Chao Attarot that is displaying the Abhaya mudra. While the other viharn is much smaller than the first one and it is decorated with wood carvings on the front facade. On the stairs to the entrance, you will see other Naga statues. There is also a small pavilion built with Burmese style.
Sao Inthakin is a city pillar that is believed to protect the city. The pillar was originally from Wat Ithakin dated back in 1296, and was moved in 1800. Located not far from the pillar is a small shrine built for the guardian spirits who brought the Sao Inthakin over from Heaven and three massive Dipterocarp trees. According to a legend, if the tree should ever fall, a great catastrophe will occur to the city.
Located on the same grounds as the Wat Chedi Luang is another temple named the Wat Phan Tao. Wat Phan Tao has a wooden viharn that is decorated with beautiful carvings around its door and rooflines. Inside the viharn is a large statue of the reclining Buddha and a bell tower. While on the back of the viharn is a small garden.
How to Get Tickets?
Wat Chedi Luang opens every day from 8 AM until 5 PM. The tickets can be bought on site, though the admission is free for the locals.
How To Get Around?
To get around, you will have to go by foot. Don't worry because the area is not that big and there are a lot of things that are interesting if you want to take a lot of photos.
What Should I Wear?
Because the Wat Chedi Luang is a temple, it is better to dress properly, which means that shoulder and knees must be covered. However, try to dress comfortably because the weather can be pretty hot.
Best Time to Visit
If you want to avoid the crowd, it is better to visit Wat Chedi Luang early in the morning or late in the afternoon. It is also better to go on a sunny day in the weekdays. If you can, the best time to visit the temple is on important Buddhist holidays, for example on Visakha Buja day, where worshippers will gather for the evening candle procession. While during the day, visitors leave offerings and prayers atop the temple.
Will I Need a Guide?
There is no guide available in Wat Chedi Luang. However, you are welcomed to ask about any information about the temple, Buddhism, or about Thailand to novice monks that are living in the temple. Not just getting any information, you will also help them to learn English.
How To Get There?
Wat Chedi Luang is located on Phra Pokklao Road and it is easy to spot the temple because it is one of the tallest structures in the old city. To get there, you can ride the songthaew, a red truck that act as shared taxis.