One of Chiang Mai’s most important temples is the Wat Chedi Luang located in the ancient walled part of the city. The Wat Chedi Luang, also known as the Jedi Luang and “The temple of the Great Stupa” initially consisted of two more temples named Wat Ho Tham and Wat Sukmin, that were all merged into one. It’s most prominent feature is the massive and very impressive chedi (pagoda) dominating the area. The chedi was ordered by King Saen Muang Ma to enshrine the ashes of his father.
Construction began in 1391 and lasted almost a century. When the chedi was finally finished in 1475 during the reign of King Tilokarat it had reached a height of about 85 meters and a width of 44 meters, which made it by far the largest structure of Chiang Mai. In the year 1545 disaster struck when a massive earthquake destroyed much of the chedi. The quake took off some 60 meters from the top of the chedi after which about 60 meters remained. In the 1990’s the chedi was partially restored. All four sides contain large staircases flanked by guardian mythical Naga creatures. At the top of the stairs are niches, where Buddha images are enshrined. Just below the top of the stairs is a platform containing Sinhalese style stone elephants on one side emerging from the chedi.