Photographer's Note

Wat Chedi Luang , as many would point out, is the icon of the Northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai.

This Buddhist temple was built in 1391 during the reign of King Saen Muang Ma, 8th ruler of the Mengrai dynasty. He intended the structure to house the ashes of his father, Ku Na. Appropriately, the site was designated as a 'ku luang' instead of a chedi since it was not intended to house relics of the Buddha.

The massive reliquary was expanded over the centuries, until it reached its final form in 1475, when King Tilokaraj made it the home of the Emerald Buddha, the most important cultural treasure in Thailand. At one point the reliquary--which had come to be known as a chedi--was 144 feet wide and 282 feet tall. Unfortunately, the pagoda was heavily damaged in the 1545 earthquake

In the early 1990s the chedi was reconstructed, financed by UNESCO and the Japanese government. The ruined brick chedi wasn’t reconstructed since apparently no-one is sure what it was supposed to look like. Presently it rises to about 60m in height, with a 44m (144 ft.) wide base. On it’s four sides, are niches approached by a monumental stairway guarded by stone nagas (mythical snakes). Elephants stand guard midway up the platform. The pristine new brick work of the main chamber contrasts oddly with the ramshackle upper section and the new elephant statues, to some, borders on the tacky but it is an interesting spot overall.

The most common picture of Wat Chedi Luang is from this angle, which shows the ruined top of the chedi. However I chose to show the chedi from this angle focusing on the serene statue of Buddha.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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