Officially known as Wat Photharam Maha Vihara. Wat Jed Yod is one of the ancient temples in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The temple’s name literally translates to 7 peaks and is referred to the seven chedis on top of the temple’s main viharn.
The temple architecture, although a little unlike the typical Buddhist temples, is constructed in a bit of Lanna style, although it mainly resembles the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya (India) of which it is a replica. According to the records of Thai Fine Arts Department, the temple was built in the year 1455 by the Lanna king Tilokkarat to serve two main purposes – first, to honor his most revered monk named Phra Uthamapanya Mahathera, and second, to host the 8th World Buddhist Council, which was held here in 1477, to discuss the texts of the Tripitaka, the scriptures containing the Buddhist teachings.
Although such an important site, the temple remains quiet aloof and free from heavy tourist traffic.
Inside the main viharn (with the seven chedis), resides the temple’s main Buddha effigy, a huge seated Buddha on a pedestal with a comparatively smaller Buddha statue in front of it placed opposite the entrance. On one side of the viharn is a tunnel like structure which houses a large sitting Buddha. Next to the viharn are two large gongs and a number of bells. Behind the viharn is the more modern ubosot or ordination hall. Of course, there is a huge Bodhi Tree within the premises to symbolize the one at Bodh Gaya.
Another unusual highlight of the temple is many small statues of snakes, which have been left their as offerings, especially at the shrine on the back side of the viharn under the shade of the Bodhi tree. In Lanna tradition, there is a temple associated with every Zodiac sign (Lanna version of Asian zodiac signs), and this temple is associated with those born in the year of the Snake zodiac sign.
There are three chedis on the temple premises – Phra Chedi is the largest one which was built in 1487 and houses the shrines of the temple’s maker, the second chedi has collapsed, and the third one still remains in a sort of a dilapidated state with its top missing.
If you have been to the original Mahabodhi Temple in India (or not), it is a good idea to visit this temple and get to know about the place where Buddha attained enlightenment (or its replica).
The nearest airport is Chiang Mai which is connected to many cities and countries but it is a better idea to arrive at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport as it has better connectivity to the rest of the world. You can take a flight further from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or avail the night bus or train. The temple is very easy to get to. It is located in the North West part of the city, around 2 km from the old walled city center, andnear the Chiang Mai museum. You can take a tuk tuk but negotiate on the price before you start the journey. Or, you can simply rent a bicycle or a bike and drive there yourself.