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The Complete Guide to Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Aug 29, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, or ‘the Jedi Luang’, or ‘The Temple of the Great Stupa’ is one of the most important temples of Chiang Mai. Let's take a quick tour of the famous Wat Chedi Luang.

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What is Wat Chedi Luang?

It is the temple of the big stupa or the royal stupa. It is basically a Buddhist temple located within the ancient walled part of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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How Old is Wat Chedi Luang?

The construction began in the 14th century by King Saen Muang Ma. Thus, it is over 700 years old today.

Highlights of Wat Chedi Luang

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- It was about 280 feet high and supposed to be as high as the dove could fly.
- It had the honor of housing the Emerald Buddha, the holiest religious object in Thailand.
- A severe earthquake in 1545 destroyed a part of the great chedi and the Emerald Buddha was later moved to Luang Prabang by the King.
- The Burmese took over Chiang Mai and the temple was never rebuilt.
- A part of the chedi was partially restored in the 1990s as no one knows what the chedi actually looked like.
- Initially it consisted of two more temples called Wat Ho Tham and Wat Sukim. They were merged into one later.

What to See in Wat Chedi Luang?

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The ruined chedi is about 60 m in height and has four sides. Each side has a monumental stairway guarded by stone nagas/snakes. At the base of the temple are grand elephant statues.
There are two viharns on the temple ground. One is a large building with a 3 tiered roof built in 1928. Its red ceiling is supported by two rows of tall columns and contains a large Buddha image called Phra Chao Attarot.

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The other viharn is smaller, elegantly decorated with wood carvings. It has stairs that lead to the entrance with large nagas standing guard.
The Sao Inthakin of Chiang Mai or the city pillar is believed to protect the city. A small shrine is built near it to house the guardian spirits who supposedly bought Sao Inthakin from heaven.

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The 3 Dipterocarp trees next to the pillar are supposed to be the protectors of the city as well.

Other Things to See

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The King had donated a replica of the Emerald Buddha to Wat Chedi Luang to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the temple.

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The Wat Phan Tao is another temple on the grounds of Wat Chedi Luang that contains a large reclining Buddha.

How to Reach Wat Chedi Luang?

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It is close to the center of the old walled part of Chiang Mai. The main entrance is opposite Phra Pok Klao, south of Ratchadamnoen road. It is open daily from 6 am to 6 pm. Admission to the temple is free.

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The Wat Chedi Luang is the must-see temple in the old city. Although in ruins, it has ancient Thai architecture and is a known place of worship.