The Wat Jed Yod is an attractive Lanna era temple complex in the outskirts of Chiang Mai that contains some very unique architecture.
The temple that is also known as Wat Chet Yot and Wat Photharam Maha Vihara is a Royal temple dating back to the 15th century. Its architectural style shows Lanna, Rattanakosin, Lao, Chinese and Indian influence. The temple was built during the reign of King Tilokkarat, King of the Lanna Kingdom from 1441 until 1487. The King’s ashes are enshrined in a chedi on the temple grounds.
In 1477 the 8th World Buddhist Council was held here to discuss the texts of the Tripitaka, the scriptures containing the Buddhist teachings.
The viharn with 7 peaks
Highlight of the Wat Jed Yod is the viharn, where the temple derives its name from. Jed Yod means 7 peaks, referring to the 7 chedis on top of the structure. The viharn is built in a style completely different from the other Lanna style or more recent Rattanakosin style structures. It was probably modeled after the Mahabodhi temple in Bagan (Myanmar) or the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya in India, where the Buddha reached enlightenment.
The outer walls of the viharn are decorated with 70 Thewada figures, a kind of celestial beings, in different postures. The bas reliefs are sculpted with a very high level of detail. While some of the figures are still in very good condition, some have unfortunately been damaged or all missing altogether.
Inside the viharn is a large seated Buddha on a pedestal with a somewhat smaller Buddha image in front of it placed opposite the entrance. One of the sides of the viharn contains a tunnel like structure where a large sitting Buddha image is enshrined. Next to the viharn are two large gongs and a number of bells. Behind the viharn is the more modern ubosot or ordination hall.
There are three chedis or pagodas on the temple grounds. The largest chedi named the Phra Chedi has a square shape with niches on all four sides and a tall spire on top. It was built in 1487 to enshrine the ashes of King Tilokkarat. This Lanna style chedi also contains the Phra Kan Janthra Buddha image.
Another chedi, set on a brick base has collapsed. The third chedi, with an octagonal shape and multiple levels containing niches, is set on a square brick base. The top of the structure is missing.
Other structures on the temple grounds
The second viharn of the Wat Jed Yod is a very elegant typical Lanna style viharn with a three tiered roof and ornately decorated facade. Naga snakes on either side of the stairs are guarding the entrance.
A large Bodhi tree on the grounds that is said to have been planted by King Tilokkarat himself is a descendant of the tree under which the Buddha meditated and reached enlightenment.
The Wat Jed Yod is an active temple, monks live and study here. The large, spacious grounds are usually quiet, the temple is not much visited by foreign tourists. The tranquil grounds with lots of shady trees and picnic tables make it a nice place for a few relaxed hours.
How to get to the Wat Jed Yod
The Wat Jed Yod is located in the North West part of Chiang Mai city, around 2 kilometers from the old walled city center. The temple is found just North of the Chiang Mai to Lampang superhighway (Highway 11), a few hundred meters from the Chiang Mai National Museum. To get there, take a tuk tuk (agree on the price before setting off) or drive there yourself on a rented bicycle.
Entrance fee & opening hours
The temple grounds are open daily from 6 am until 6 pm. Admission is free, although donations are highly appreciated.