Wat Chedi Luang : A Symbol of Chiang Mai’s Rich Heritage
Exploring the Beauty and Significance of Wat Chedi Luang
A Temple Rich in History and Culture
Wat Chedi Luang, also known as the Temple of the Large Stupa, is a historic Buddhist temple located in the heart of Chiang Mai, Thailand. With a rich history dating back to the 14th century, it was originally part of the temple grounds that housed three temples: Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Ho Than, and Wat Sukmin. King Saen Muang Ma started the construction of the chedi in 1391, but it wasn’t until the mid-15th century during the reign of King Tilokaraj that the temple was completed and reached its height of 82 meters. The temple’s design was likely inspired by the chedi in Bagan, Myanmar and continues to captivate visitors with its fascinating history, stunning architecture, beautiful Buddha images, and rich cultural significance. Join us as we delve into the rich history and significance of Chedi Luang temple.
Construction of the Chedi
The construction of Wat Chedi Luang was completed in the mid-15th century and reached a height of 82 meters with a base diameter of 54 meters, making it the largest building in the Lanna kingdom. The statue of the Emerald Buddha was installed in the temple in 1468, but after an earthquake in 1545, the upper 30 meters of the temple collapsed and the statue was eventually moved to Luang Prabang.
After the collapse of the temple in 1545, the chedi was eventually restored to its former glory in the 20th century. Three academics from Silpakorn University in Bangkok conducted research on the collapse of the temple and its shape, in case it would be restored. They argue that the tunnels beneath the temple were the cause of its collapse and created a virtual image of how the temple probably looked before the collapse.
The main viharn of the temple, facing the main entrance, dates back to 1928 and underwent renovation in 1999. The viharn contains the large standing Buddha image Phra Chao Attarot and is a beautiful example of temple architecture in Chiang Mai. The viharn is currently closed for major restoration.
Viharn Luang Pu Mun Bhuridatta
Viharn Luang Pu Mun Bhuridatta, dedicated to the highly respected Buddhist monk, was founded in 2002 by the abbot of Chedi Luang temple. The viharn contains one of the monk’s molar teeth and a statue of him, and he is regarded as the mentor of forest monks and an inspiration to the Buddhist monkhood.
Viharn Chatumuk Buraphachan
Viharn Chatumuk Buraphachan is a assembly hall located at the back of the temple grounds and was constructed to enshrine the Buddha relics and ashes of pilgrim forest monks in the lineage of the Venerable Luang Pu Mun Bhuridatta Mahathera. The design of the viharn is based on the famous Viharn Phra Chao Pun Ong at Wat Pong Sanuk Tai in Lampang and dates back to 2004.
Buddhist Manuscript Library and Museum
The Buddhist Manuscript Library and Museum at Chedi Luang temple is a fascinating destination for those with a deeper interest in Theravada Buddhism and palm leaf manuscripts. The museum provides a wealth of information about these subjects and is well-maintained, with historic pictures exhibited on the ground floor and information about palm leaf manuscripts on the first floor.
Sober and beautiful old Ubosot
The old ordination hall, or ubosot, of Wat Chedi Luang is located behind the giant chedi and dates back to 1883. It underwent several renovations in 1948 and 1997 and is a beautiful example of simplicity in temple architecture. The ubosot is not in use anymore, but is worth exploring for its historical significance and beauty.
The City Pillar (Sao Inthakin)
The city pillar, or Sao Inthakin, of Chiang Mai is housed in a small building on the temple grounds and is believed to protect the city and grant fertility to the people. A festival in honor of the city pillar takes place every year in May and lasts for 6 to 8 days. Women are not allowed to enter the building housing the city pillar “because they menstruate,” according to an information board placed next to the building.
How to Get to Chedi Luang temple
Getting there is easy, as the temple is located in the heart of Chiang Mai, within walking distance from many popular tourist attractions and hotels. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the city’s historic old town and soak up the local atmosphere before reaching the temple grounds.
If you’re looking to truly understand and appreciate the history and cultural significance of Wat Chedi Luang, we highly recommend taking a private tour with a knowledgeable guide. Our tour agency in Chiang Mai offers private tours that provide an in-depth understanding of the temple’s past and the thriving Lanna culture that once prospered in the area. With a knowledgeable guide by your side, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the history and beauty of Wat Chedi Luang and gain a unique and enriching travel experience.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore one of Chiang Mai’s most fascinating and historic landmarks. Book a private tour with us today and get ready to experience the rich history and cultural heritage of Wat Chedi Luang and the city of Chiang Mai.
Leave A Comment