In its day, Wat Chedi Luang must have been the most impressive temple in Chiang Mai. Built about 600 years ago, the huge chedi which gave the temple its name (Royal Pagoda) must have soared high above the surrounding city. Unfortunately most
of it was destroyed within a few hundred years of its construction. Some say it was an earthquake in the seventeenth century that did the damage, others say it was King Taksin's cannons firing on the city to chase out the Burmese in the eighteenth century.
The pagoda has been partially reconstructed, but the spire has not been recreated since nobody can be sure what it looked like.
Wat Chedi Luang was also important because for a short time it housed the most important object in Thailand, the Emerald
Buddha. The Emerald Buddha is now in its own temple in Bangkok, but a few years ago the king donated a replica to be placed in the eastern niche of the chedi.