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Entries in Laos (45)



I usually try to start the New Year off with a post that has a smile in it (see Sharing a Ride). The subtle smile shown above is on a bronze statue of Buddha from Ho Phra Keo (Altar of the Emerald Buddha) in Vientiane, Laos. [NOTE: The Emerald Buddha is actually carved from a single block of jade. Laotians took the celebrated statue from Northern Thailand in 1551; the Thai invaded Vientiane, stormed the temple, and took the statue back to Bangkok in 1778]. 


Details of a Door

One of the side temples at Pha That Luang in Vientiane has a large statue of Buddha in front of an enormous door which is one of the most exquisite examples of Buddhist iconography that I've ever seen.  

As is shown below, the door is covered in gold bas relief sculptures representing different periods in the life of the Buddha. The amount of detail is amazing, and I spent a long time gazing at this incredible piece of art. The folds on the robes of the five ascetics, the leaves on the Bodhi tree, the deer in the background. [NOTE: The image shows the Buddha's first teaching in the deerpark at Sarnath]. 


Pha That Luang Altar

One of many altars at Pha That Luang in Vientiane, Laos. I love all of the different shades of saffron. Together with the blue vase. And the piercing gaze of the Buddha. [NOTE: In my browser, the highlight color of links matches the saffron in the image perfectly].


Tuk-tuk to Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang, the gold covered stupa located about 4 km NW of Vientiene, is the most important national monument in Laos.  Of the four wat originally built around the stupa, only two remain: Wat That Luang Tai to the south and Wat That Luang Neua to the north. The later is the monastic residence of the Supreme Patriarch of Lao Buddhism [NOTE: The stupa is said to contain the breast bone of Lord Buddha]. 

The most enjoyable way to visit this spectacular Buddhist complex is by tuk-tuk.


Wat Si Saket

Si Saket is a beautiful wat, or Buddhist monastery, in Vientiane, Laos. It was constructed in 1818 on the orders of King Anouvong, and is probably the oldest temple in Vientiane. The terrace surrounding the temple is lined with over 300 Lao-styled Buddhas of varying age, size, and material (e.g. wood, stone, or bronze).

The terrace walls are riddled with small niches, containing several thousand gilded or ceramic Buddhas. [NOTE: The temple was (mostly) spared by the armies of Siam when they sacked Ventiane in 1827].

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