Wat Chedi Luang Temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Wat Chedi Luang
Construction on the temple began in 1391, however it took almost a century for the building to be completed. Near the time of completion the Emerald Buddha was added to the eastern niche of the temple. In 1545, the upper 30 meter portion of the structure is said to have collapsed after an earthquake. A few years later, in 1551, the Emerald Buddha was moved to Luang Prabang (Now in the country of Laos). There is now a copy of the Emerald Buddha made of black jade placed in the reconstructed eastern niche of the temple. Also on the temple grounds is the city pillar (Lak Mueang) of Chiang Mai, It was originally located in Wat Sadeu Muang and was moved over 200 years ago.
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The Wat Chedi Luang Temple is located in the center of the old city of Chiang Mai on Phrapokklao Road. It is a short walk from anywhere in the old city inside the moat. It may be confusing walking through the streets of the old city, you may want to refer to a map. Free maps of the city are available at many bars and restaurants or travel shops in Chiang Mai. I have also attached a photo of a map below, with the blue icon showing the location of Wat Chedi Luang.
The Legend of the gum tree
If you visit the temple, you will notice a large tree on the grounds of the Temple. Local legend states that this tree offers protection to the temple and the city, and if this tree were ever to fall, catastrophic events will follow. Lord Kavila, the ruler of Chiang Mai during the late 18th century, restored and renovated the pillar and moved it from Wat lnthakin (near Three Kings monument) to its current location at Wat Chedi Luang, placing it under a large gum tree on the corner of the temple grounds. Legend has it that if this gum tree should ever fall, Chiang Mai will fall with it.
When you visit any temple, or government office in Thailand, you are expected to dress appropriately. This means you should be wearing long pants or trousers, with a sleeved shirt as apposed to shorts and sleeveless shirts. You will also be asked to take off your shoes before entering the temple, you will see hundreds of peoples shoes in a pile at the entrance. Once inside the temple, you should make sure not to offend anyone, keep your voice down and try to not to cause any disruption to other people.
All the photos and video of the temple that you see in this article are taken by "Heli-Asia", using their remote controlled helicopter with remote camera mount. The helicopter travelled to over 100 meters above the highest point of the temple and hovered there using a sophisticated flight control system that allows the helicopter to remain at the same altitude for a long period of time. The camera mount is controlled remotely from the ground, and there is a live video feed showing the viewer of the camera. It takes 2 experienced technicians to operate the helicopter and the camera. Using a series of still photos taken at various different angles, Heli Asia also created a spherical image of the temple, the temple grounds and the old city of Chiang Mai.