Wat Chedi Luang

sights / Religious

Wat Chedi Luang information

Chiang Mai , Thailand
Th Phra Pokklao
donations appreciated
Opening hours
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An historic and venerable temple, Wat Chedi Luang is built around a crumbling Lanna-style chedi (built in 1441) that was one of the tallest structures in ancient Chiang Mai.

The famed Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha), now held in Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaew, resided in the eastern niche in 1475. Today there is a jade replica, given as a gift from the Thai king in 1995 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the chedi and the 700th anniversary of the city.

Stories say that the chedi was damaged by either a 16th-century earthquake or by the cannon fire of King Taksin in 1775 during the recapture of Chiang Mai from the Burmese. A restoration was financed by Unesco and the Japanese government in the 1990s. The restoration work is easily spotted: new porticoes and naga (mythical serpent) and new Buddha images in three of the four directional niches. On the southern side of the monument, five elephant sculptures in the pediment can be seen. Four are cement restorations; only the one on the far right – without ears and trunk – is original brick and stucco. The restoration efforts also stopped short of creating a new spire, since no one knows for sure how the original superstructure looked. Regardless, a slow stroll around the massive walls of the chedi is quite meditative.

Wat Chedi Luang's other prominent attraction is the làk meu·ang (city pillar, believed to house the city's guardian deity) enshrined in a small building to the left of the compound's main entrance.

In the main wí·hăhn is the standing Buddha, known as Phra Chao Attarot, flanked by two disciples, both renowned for meditation and mysticism.