Before I start on the topic I have to include this photo because sunshine has arrived back to Chiang Mai. After months of cloudy or smoky days the skies have cleared to blue and the sun has made an exciting reappearance. Doi Suthep, which is the big hill overlooking the city, can now be clearly seen. Nothing special for you Australians but a big deal for us expats.
OK back to topic. Another temple post and on my list of recommended off the tourist path visits.
Wat Chet Yot is a large temple site just outside the main Chiang Mai city area along the Super Highway, Highway 11, north of the intersection of Huai Kaeo road and Nimmanhemin road – GPS N 18 48 541 E 098 58 418. Because it a little way outside the main tourist route and as it is more set-up for Thais than tourists it isn’t widely included on the must sees of Chiang Mai, which has to be a plus.
We were invited to visit the Wat by Mark, a friend of ours who had been there before. He also suggested we have a debrief on the temple visit at a local Thai buffet restaurant he had discovered. Sounded like a plan so we headed off for an 11.00 am rendezvous.
The following brief summary of the Wat Chet Yot has been borrowed by me from HERE so my thanks to them:
“Chet Yot was built during the reign of King Tilokkarat, whose remains are enshrined in one of the smaller chedi. Literally the “Temple of the Seven Spires,” Chet Yot is built in imitation of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India, where the Buddha reached enlightenment. The architecture is fairly eclectic, incorporating elements of Thai, Lao, Indian, and Chinese design. Visitors should take note of the seventy beautiful thewada bas-reliefs around the base of the temple—a masterpiece of Lanna kingdom art.
In 1477, the temple played host to the 8th world Buddhist council, an ecumenical gathering that sought to clarify certain doctrinal issues. Unfortunately, the records of this proceeding have since been lost.
Women visitors should note that only men are permitted to climb on the temple roof!
Because of the various means of translating Thai, “Chet Yot” can also be romanized as “Chet Yod,” “Jet Yot,” or “Jet Yod”.
The first impression of the temple site is one of greenery. It is set in a parkland setting, which makes for a restful break from the immediate vicinity outside. Highway 11 is the busiest road in Chiang Mai so this secluded Wat makes for a total contrast.
The exterior façades of the building feature 70 strongly weathered stucco reliefs of Thewada (Devas), divine beings, the faces of whom have allegedly been modelled after relatives of King Tilokarat the king who commissioned the Wat in 1455.
Having worked up an appetite it was time to head across the road to this Thai buffet place for a feed. The place is very well patronised so best to get there early for lunch to get the best selection. All the buffet dishes are topped up but that must slow down at some point. It was busy with many uni student types as the restaurant is situated close to the Chiang Mai uni and other educational places.
Unlimited food including some weird Thai desserts cost $2.60 per person. Bottled soft drink $0.50.
Another Wat explored and reported on. We then headed home for a post-buffet snooze.
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