Wat Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang

Wat Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang

Wat Xieng Thong (or Temple of the Golden City) is a Buddhist temple, located on the northern tip of the peninsula of Luang Phrabang, Laos. Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important of Lao monasteries and remains a significant monument to the spirit of religion, royalty and traditional art. There are over twenty structures on the grounds including a sim, shrines, pavilions and residences, in addition to its gardens of various flowers, ornamental shrubs and trees.

Wat Xieng Thong was built in 1560 near where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers join. Until 1975 the wat was a royal temple under the patronage of the royal family and the Lao kings were crowned in the wat. The temple is considered as representing typical Laos art and craft. The building of the wat have carved gilded wooden doors depicting scenes from Buddha’s life.

On one side of the sim, there are several small halls and stupas that contain Buddha images. There is a reclining Buddha sanctuary, which contains an especially rare reclining Buddha that dates from the construction of the temple. In the near compound’s eastern gate stands the royal funerary carriage house, where it houses the funeral carriage, which stands 12 metres high and there are various urns for the members of the royal family.

A number of restorations have taken place in the twentieth century, included a notable one in which the French participated in 1928. Major projects took place in the 1950s and 1960s, when the funerary carriage house was built, and especially in more recent times to repair the damage brought by years of neglect because of wars.

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