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Wat Jed Yod

Seven-peaked Pagoda
The seven-peaked structure which gives the temple its name.

 
Wat Jed Yod is probably one of the least visited major temples. Jet Yod translates to "seven peaks" and refers to the seven chedis which top a structure in the temple complex (left). It's a very unusual - for Thailand - temple building. That's because it's a copy, sort of, of the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya in India. It was built in the 15th century to host the Eighth World Buddhist Council. Nobody seems to know the results of the council, but the temple remains. There's an uninviting cave-like hall in the rectangular base of the structure supporting the seven chedi, while a more typical modern wiharn stands in front of the old monument.

face
Face of a standing figure.

Of more interest is the exterior, on which several sculpted figures survive. Whilst many parts are missing, you can still see some finely detailed figures. The whole is unusually asymmetrical, with the figures on one side seated, while those on the other are standing.

The photo on the right shows a close-up of a standing figure, in which you can see some of the fine detail of the clothing, headdress, and even a very large flower shaped earring. On the left is a full view of a seated figure. The hands are missing, but most of the rest is still there.

buddha
Seated figure on the temple wall.

Several other interesting chedis dot the grounds of this rather large temple. An empty platform is directly in front of the entrance to the "cave." Directly behind are two more chedi. One of them, presumably the larger, contains the remains of the king who built the temple.

old Chedi
Chedi holding the builder of Wat Jed Yod

The whole place was rather empty, and this on a weekend when the rest of Chiang Mai was crowded with many Thai and foreign tourists for a long weekend. There weren't even many monks to be seen around the place, though one young novice stood watch to the entrance of the cave. I noticed some tiny earphones from a CD player in his ears as I walked past. Funny, I don't recall a walkman being among the eight basic possessions allowed to a Buddhist monk.

Ubosot and chedi.
Chedi and sala built on old platform.

 
Further on is another chedi, in front of which is a very large ancient platform, which now has a small, obviously modern building on it. In the picture at left you can also see some of the many large trees which shade much of the temple grounds.

Unlike many of Chiang Mai's other large temples, Wat Jed Yod is seldom visited by tourists. Its an interesting and quiet place to spend some time away from the crowds that you'll find in most other places in Chiang Mai.

Getting There

The temple is located on the highway which rings Chiang Mai, not far from where it intersects Huay Kaew road. It is also very near (within walking distance) of the Chiang Mai National Museum.

Notes

The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India is one of the most important of all sacred places for Buddhists. The second site in the Heart of Buddha Pilgrimage Way, it commemorates the attaining of Enlightenment by Siddhartha Gautama. The Pilgrimage Way starts in Lumbini, Nepal, where Prince Siddhartha was born. Bodhgaya is followed by the Deer Park in Sarnath where Buddha preached his first sermon and the pilgrimage ends in Kusinagara where Buddha reached paranirvana, or going beyond nirvana. Of all these places though, Bodhgaya surpasses in importance as the birthplace of Buddhism. It was here that Siddhartha denounced asceticism and realizes the "Middle Way", which became the center of his teaching.

 

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