Wat Jet Yot, Chiang Mai
Year of the Snake: This turned out to be one of the hardest temples for me to find. All I had was the name Wat Maha Potaram (also written Wat Botharam Maha Vihara). It wasn’t in any of my guidebooks. The people at the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) didn’t know too. All I knew was that it was in Chiang Mai and it looked a bit like the famous Bodhgaya in India. I nearly gave up but decided to go back to the TAT office on my last day in the city. I was in luck. A local resident happened to be visiting the office at that time. She told me that it is on the northern highway loop and that it is better known by its nickname, Wat Jet Yot, or temple with the seven spires.
Wat Jet Yot was built in the mid 15th Century. The seven spires represent the seven weeks that the Buddha spent in Bodhgaya before he went out to spread his teachings. The outside wall is decorated with a stucco relief of an assembly of angels. In the grounds there is a bodhi tree much like the one that the Buddha set under during his enlightenment. As well as being an important pilgrimage site for people born in the Year of the Snake, the temple is also the historical location for the eighth world seminar on the revision of the Tripitaka in 1477 A.D. If you cannot make it to Bodhgaya in India, then this temple is a good alternative.