The Grand Stupa is mentioned in historical text as ‘Rajakudakan’, which means a royal building with a multitiered superstructure. This Grand Stupa is the principal construction of Wat Chedi Luang, and marks the center of the Chiang Mai City Plan.
This study argues that the Grand Stupa was built in 1391 during Phaya Saen Mueang Ma’s reign, possibly inspired by the construction of Ku Phaya in Bagan. Thereafter, in 1545, the Grand Stupa’s superstructure collapsed after the great earthquake, resulted in the irreparable damage since then. Therefore, a survey using a 3D laser scanner is conducted to collect the most precise data on the current condition of the Grand Stupa, yielding an assumption of its reconstruction.
Other simultaneous stupas or those that show a close architectural relationship (e.g. stupas in Wat Chiang Man and Wat Lok Moli and the stupa of King Tilokaraj in Wat Chet Yot in Chiang Mai) are also employed as research frameworks for the reconstruction. As a result, the architectural research on the Grands Stupa, compared with simultaneous stupas, yields a fruitful argument that the pre-collapse superstructure form of the Grand Stupa marks the most architectural similarity to the stupa of Wat Chiang Man.