Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand

high-definition creative commons photographs from this temple in Chiang Mai City, Thailand, showing the architecture, statues and decoration work, together with further information.


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Signboard in Lanna, Thai and Roman Scripts
Signboard in Lanna, Thai and Roman Scripts

For a number of reasons Wat Chedi Luang is one of the most important Temples in Chiang Mai. First of all the brick-built Chedi itself is the largest religious structure in the city, and it used to be much bigger until an earthquake around the 14th century brought down the top 30 metres.

It was rebuilt by the great Lanna King Tilokarat who expanded it and brought it to its greatest height around 82 metres high. The same King also renamed it from Ku Luang (Great Shrine) Chedi Luang. Normally a Chedi to acquire the name should have a Buddha relic in it, but this structure did not. It was, however, the home of the Emerald Buddha (Phra Kæo) for some time, which was housed in an eastern niche of the Chedi for around 80 years.

The second reason for the importance of the Temple is that it contains the City Pillar or Inthakhin. This was only brought here when King Kawila re-established the city after it had been abandoned for 20 years in the late 18th century. He also planted the City Tree (a Dipterocarp), which is still standing proud, more than 200 years after its planting.

A third claim to fame is more recent, because the great meditation master and founder of the modern Thai Forest tradition was Abbot here for a short while, before leaving for the forests, and he is commemorated in a Viharn of his own, along with his relics, and in a pavilion nearby his most famous disciple and biographer, Luangta Maha Boowa's relics are also found.

The Main Viharn, which also doubles as the Ubosot, was built in 1928 contains a standing Buddha Statue, known as Phra Chao Attarot, which was made in the 14th century. The beautifully decorated pillars are of solid teak. There are also many other small Viharns and pavilions around, including one housing a Parinibbana Statue, and the Temple also contains a Manuscript Library and Museum, but this was closed the day we went.


Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

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