Wat Chedi Luang is one of the most prominent temples of Chiang Mai’s old city. The grounds of this temple are also home to ‘The Sao Inthakin’ or ‘City Pillar’ which, assisted by three Dipterocarp trees planted close to it, is supposed to be protecting the city of Chiang Mai. Wat Chedi itself has a long history. Originally there were three temples here – Wat Ho Tham, Wat Sukmin and Wat Chedi Luang of which now only one ‘Wat Chedi Luang’ remains. ‘Chedi’ literally means ‘pagoda’ and this Buddhist temple got its name from a massive pagoda constructed here that was the largest structure in Chiang Mai when constructed. The building of this Chedi was started by King Saen Muang Ma in the 14th century. The king wanted to bury his father’s ashes at this place. But he could not complete the construction which was later completed in 1475 by King Tilokaraj. The height of the Chedi at that time was 82 meters. The upper 30 meters of the pagoda got destroyed in the year 1545 due to an earthquake. The present-day structure is a UNESCO sponsored reconstruction that was taken up in the 1990s.
Getting to Wat Chedi Luang
If you enter the old city through Tha Phae Gate, walk straight for a few minutes on Rachadamnoen Road, at the traffic signal of the second main crossing, turn left on Prapokkloa Road. The temple is on the right side of this road. Grab a copy of Chiang Mai’s Best Road Map to make the most of your visit to Chiang Mai Old City. Read more below…
The large Viharn in the temple grounds houses several Buddha images and has a high ceiling supported by decorated golden pillars. At the entrance of the Viharn is a Buddha image in “Preventing Relatives From Fighting Posture” (in the above pic).
No Entry of Women in the City Pillar Chiang Mai
The entrance to the City Pillar Shrine a red signboard says “Women are not permitted”
Chat with the Monks
A Monk Chat program here is a very interesting feature. Every day from 9.00am to 6.00pm, the visitors to the temple are invited to drop in and chat with monks on Buddhism, a Monk’s life, Thai culture or anything else.
There is a lot more to see and experience in Wat Chedi Luang. Don’t miss this temple when you visit Chiang Mai’s old city. After seeing Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai’s Oldest Temple, my visit to Wat Chedi Luang was really rewarding.