Wat Chet Yot, the temple of seven spires
Beautiful Wat Chet YotWat Chet Yot is often spelt as Wat Jed Yot. This unusual temple is not one of the temples that features in tour programs. Very few tourists visit this really wonderful and spectacular complex, mainly because it is located outside the city centre. The temple is on the so-called Super Highway, the first ring road of Chiang Mai. You can easily combine a visit of Wat Chet Yot with a visit to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. When you drive down from Doi Suthep along Huay Kaew Road you just turn left at the Rincome intersection. Drive a couple of kilometers and you will find this magnificent temple on your left.
Wat Photharam Maha Wihan
Wat Chet Yot is also known under the name Wat Photaram Maha Wihan. The main temple, Maha Pho wihan aka Maha Chedi, is just very different from any other temple in Chiang Mai so you should really go there. King Tilokarat, the 12th king of the Mangrai Dynasty, ordered the construction of this temple in 1455. The King had sent several monks to Burma to study the design of the Mahabodhi temple in Bagan. The design of the temple is based on that of the Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya in northern India, where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, attained Enlightenment.
The most imposing structure is the earlier mentioned Maha Chedi. It is a building with windows with seven spires on top of it. The seven spires (in Thai: Chet Yot) give the temple then name with which most people identify it. The outside of the temple is decorated with seventy stucco reliefs of Thewada (Devas), divine beings. Allegedly their faces resemble relatives of King Tilokarat. Photographs from the 1930s show this temple overgrown by foliage. In those days the location must have been relatively remote, in a vast forest. More about Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai on this page.
About this article
I have visited the temple several times and did some online research (Wikipedia). I also consulted books and articles. Here are the most important titles:
Sarassawadee Ongsakul, History of Lanna, Chiang Mai, 2005
Michael Freeman, Lanna, Thailand’s Northern Kingdom, Bangkok, 2001
Hans Penth, A brief history of Lanna, Chiang Mai, 2000
Where is Wat Chet Yot?
The temple is located on the so-called Superhighway. It is not the greatest location for this beautiful complex. You hear constantly the noise of the traffic. Take a tuk tuk or local taxi to go to Wat Chet Yot.
The opening times of the temple are 0700-1800. There is no entrance fee but a donation is always appreciated for the maintenance of the temple.
See below map:
Wat Chet Yot features in these tours: