Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan
When tourists visit the country of Thailand, they often head to the astonishing and beautiful Chiang Mai where a lot of tourist spots and destinations can be seen and explored; everyone will have so many activities and things to do in Chiang Mai which includes visiting the mesmerizingly ancient temples in the area.
One of the ancient temples tourists can visit is the Wat Chedi Luang or the Chedi Luang Temple; it may not appear as grandiose as the Wat Phra Singh, but its massive collapsed Lanna-designed chedi, which was built in the year 1441, is generally taller and the spread out compound surrounding the stupa is intensely atmospheric.
During the times of ancient Chiang Mai, the Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan was probably one of the most colossal structures found in the area, yet due to some strong earthquake that may have possibly hit the country in the 16th century, or by cannon firing during the reclaiming of Chiang Mai in 1775 from the Burmese, the top of the chedi was ruined and had eventually crumbled.
Similar to the many archaic monuments found in Chiang Mai, the Wat Chedi Luang was already in ruins when Chiang Mai commenced its modern resurgence; however, a restoration and revival project in 1996 which was headed by Unesco and the Japanese government, was commenced to preserve the Chiang Mai Wat Chedi Luang as well as to prevent further degeneration and deterioration.
Tourists can add to their list of things to do in Chiang Mai, a quick visit along the temple grounds, where they can spot the Lak Mueang (city pillar) of Chiang Mai which is called the Sao Inthakin. This Lak Mueang was originally situated in Wat Sadeu Muang, but during the 1800’s, it was moved to Chiang Mai by the king during that time. King Chao Kawila, has also planted Dipterocarp trees along the area to assist and help the city pillar when it comes to protecting the town.
A statue of a Buddha named Eighteen-cubit Buddha or Phra Chao Attarot, which was cast around the late 14th century, can be found near a wihan that is just close to the Wat Chedi Luang Worawihan temples entrance; furthermore, when tourists reach the other portion of the chedi, settling there is another structure which houses a leaning Buddha statue that they can admire while exploring the temples grounds.
History of the Wat Chedi Luang
If tourists are still coming up with other things to do in Chiang Mai, there are a dozen more things they can engage in and learn about the history of the Chedi Luang temple.
In 1391, King Saen Muang Ma has started building the Wat Chedi Luang so he could keep the ashes of his late father, Ku Na; when King Saen died, later kings continued to build and expand the temple until it reached its final form in the year 1475. The temple was given great and tremendous honor of housing and sheltering the Emerald Buddha which is considered as one of the holiest religious figures in Thailand. Currently, the Emerald Buddha is now sheltered and kept safe within the Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.
Centuries have passed and a strong earthquake that occurred in the year 1545 ruined a portion of the great tower of the Chedi Luang; despite the tragedy, the Emerald Buddha was still housed within the Wat Chedi Luang for six more years before it was moved by the king to Luang Prabang, which is now Laos.
After five years, Chiang Mai had fallen under the control of the Burmese and because of this, the temple was never rebuilt; but despite this, the Wat Chedi Luang still remained among one of the tallest structures within Chiang Mai, and even during the modern times, it was still one of the tallest structures around.
What to See in the Wat Chedi
Tourists and guests have more things to do in Chiang Mai and this includes exploring the area around the Chiang Mai Wat Chedi Luang. People can visit the collapsed brick chedi which now towers at about 60 meters in height; it has four sides with niches that come in contact with a monumental flight of stairs. The stairways are guarded by stone mythical snakes called Nagas, and elephants stand midway up, guarding the area by the platform.
Despite its collapsed state, the temple still has numerous Buddha shrines and is still a place where monks wearing saffron robes actively worship. The large assembly hall or vihran has a very impressive interior with rounded columns that supports the high ceiling in the area. A standing Buddha that dates from the late 14th century is housed by the Wat Cedi temple; the Buddha is called the Phra Chao Attarot and is made of mortar and brass alloy.
People who visit the temple will also notice a huge Dipterocarp tree that is located next to the entrance and is considered by the locals as a protector of the city. Stated in the legend of Chiang Mai is that if the tree falls for whatever reason, a great cataclysm will follow.
Locals also believe that the city pillar, or the City’s Spirit (the Lak Mueang), protects the city. It is found next to a tree, enshrined and revered in a little cross-shaped building; the pillar was relocated from its original place at the Wat Sadeu Muang during the 1800’s.
Other Things to Do in Chiang Mai
If tourists wish to explore a place that is considered as a cultural and natural destination, then Chiang Mai is the best place for people to visit. The city center preserves a cozy and small town ambiance while housing numerous age-old temples and other attractions that are all easily accessible from one another. Only an hour drive is necessary to reach the lush countryside of Chiang Mai where tourists are offered boundless explorations and visits to the many traditional and cultural ethnic hill tribe villages. Here are some of the most common things tourists can do during their stay in the beautiful place of Chiang Mai.
- Visit the famous and most revered sacred temple in Chiang Mai, the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.
- If tourists enjoy traveling through the fascinating wildlife displays while simultaneously admiring the excellent view of the city of Chiang Mai, the Chiang Mai Zoo is definitely worth the visit.
- For families or large groups of tourists, heading to the Night Safari in Chiang Mai is considered by a lot of visitors, as one of the most stunning Night Safaris in the whole world. Guests can easily arrange their own transport to reach the Night Safari, or they can take advantage of the free return mini-bus that runs every night from the tourist police office that is located in the center of the famous Night Bazaar.
- The Wiang Kum Kam is situated along the Ping River in an attractive and lush countryside where tourists can find numerous interesting structures and items like stone tablets, architecture, Buddhist scriptures, to name a few. Some tourists prefer exploring the area by riding on a horse-drawn carriage so they can relax while taking in the beauty of the Wiang Kum Kam.
If a more modern and hip activity is preferred by tourists, then simply head straight for Chiang Mai’s famous Night Market or their alluring Night Bazaar where a long stretch of stores, boutiques, bars, and restaurants are waiting and welcoming all of its guests to experience the night-life in the city of Chiang Mai.