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Chedi Chang Lom (เจดีย์ช้างล้อม)

Thai. Elephants Surrounded Pagoda. Name of a Buddhist pagoda, located within the temple complex of Wat Chiang Man (fig.), the first and oldest temple of Chiang Mai, constructed in 1297 AD. Thought the present edifice is a replacement of the original structure, it is still the oldest building within the temple complex. The original chedi from was destroyed in reign of Phaya Thilokarat (1441-1487 AD), the twelfth ruler of the Lan Na Kingdom, who ordered a new one built in 1471 AD, made with sila daeng. The present pagoda consists of a square base with a terrace -of fifteen life-sized stucco elephants that surround and support the pagoda, of which the upper part is gilded. Initially, the animals were all white in collour, and are thus in fact Chang Pheuak, i.e. White Elephants, which are deemed auspicious creatures in Thai culture and Buddhism. Directly underneath the pinnacle, the chedi contains a bell shaped relic chamber. The name Chang Lom is also used for similar structures elsewhere, such as Wat Chang Lom in Sri Satchanalai Historical Park, Wat Sorasak in Sukhothai Historical Park, which is also referred to as Wat Chang Lom (fig.), and the chedi of Wat Mahaeyong in Ayutthaya, which is equally surrounded by an elephant terrace (fig.). See MAP.