Wat Chedi Luang (Temple of the Big Stupa) is Tripadvisor 2014 Travelers’ Choice as the #1 attraction in Chiang Mai. It is a Buddhist temple located within the city walls, in the historic centre of Chiang Mai, Thailand. I know you are curious about the meaning of "Chedi" and "Stupa" as me, well according to wikepedia, "it is a mound-like or semi-hemispherical structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the ashes of Buddhist monks, used by Buddhists as a place of meditation".
The construction of the temple started in the 14th century during the reign of King Saen Muang Ma, 8th ruler of the Mengral dynasty. It was initially planned to house the ashes of his father, Ku Na. The construction and expansion of the temple was continued by later kings, reaching its final form in 1475 during the reign of King Tilokaraj. The King made it the home of the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred religious treasure of Thailand. Unfortunately, due to a severe earthquake in 1545 during the reign of Queen Mahadevi the temple and the chedi was heavily damaged.
|the damaged chedi at its present state, the stone nagas (water serpents) and statues of elephants standing on guard|
At its prime, the chedi measured 82 metres tall and 54 meters wide which is the largest temple during that time. After the earthquake the chedi was reduced to nearly half. In 1992, the chedi was reconstructed, financed by UNESCO and the Japanese government. The naga (water serpents) staircase on each of its faces and statues of elephants were brought back. The restoration of the chedi was however never completed, leaving it at its present state but despite its ruined state, the chedi still has several Buddha shrines and remains an active place of worship.
At present as you can see in the pictures, the Wat Chedi Luang now rises to about 60m in height and 44m wide. It has four sides, each with a monumental stairway guarded by stone nagas (mythical snakes) and Elephants standing on guard.
|the stone nagas (mythical snakes) standing on guard|
|the assembly hall (large viharn)|
|entrance of the large viharn (assembly hall)|
|interior of the assembly hall|
The hall contains a standing Buddha known as the Phra Chao Attarot which is made of brass alloy and mortar. The Buddha dates from the time of the temple's founder which is King Saen Muang Ma during the late 14th century.
|Wat Phan Tao|
Sharing the grounds of Wat Chedi Luang is another temple, Wat Phan Tao. Beautiful wooden carvings! This wooden viharn aside from the impressive wooden carvings also contains a large reclining Buddha.
- Sacred Destinations http://www.sacred-destinations.com/thailand/chiang-mai-wat-chedi-luang
- Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Chedi_Luang
- Asian Historical Architecture http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/thailand/chiangmai/wat-chedi-luang
- Tourism Thailand http://www.tourismthailand.org/See-and-Do/Sights-and-Attractions-Detail/Wat-Chedi-Luang
All photos used in this post are owned by the author.