Morning visit to Wat Visoun

Morning visit to Wat Visoun

That Makmo

Luang Prabang, which is set between the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers, is an enchanting town filled with colonial style buildings and historic temples. Wat Visoun, which dates back to 1513 and the reign of King Wisunarat (Visoun) and was once home to the Prabang Buddhas, is the oldest temple in Luang Prabang. Indochina tours Myanmar

Before being burned in 1887 by Black Haw riders, who were part of the Black Flag military rebel group led by a Chinese commander at the end of the 1880s, this temple was originally crafted from wood. Not only now being home to an array of precious items and religious artefacts relating to both Buddhism and the royal family, over the years the temple has also acted as a Museum of Religious Arts. With stucco work which is classic Luang coupled with wooden windows reflecting the Wat Phou Temple in the South of the country, the temple is a celebration of early Lao architecture. They carried out the restoration work in 1895 and once again in 1932.

The sim

A row of old Buddha statues stored at the back of the sim

A row of old Buddha statues stored at the back of the sim

With a two tiered roof, the sime of Wat Visoun is a brick structure of fairly plain architecture. Naga finials are used to adorn the roof’s ends. A “Dok so faa”, which is an ornamental element comprising of 17 miniature stupas covered by parasols, is situated at the center of the roof.

The original early 16th century structure inspired the wooden doors of the sim. The delicate gilded carvings on the doors depict the bull Nandi, the Hindu Gods Vishnu, Indri, Brahma and Shiva on his own mount.

A separate roof supported by large white pillars covers the portico of the front entrance. The windows’ wooden balustrades resemble those in stone at some of the Angkor’s Khmer temples.

A morning visit to Wat Visoun

A morning visit to Wat Visoun-source: Internet

The Lauang Prabang’s largest Buddha image is housed in the sim. A large number of small images in several mudras are around the gilded image. The wooden and bronze images, many of which are gilded are up to 400 years old. The unique Stupa of the Great Lotus or That Pathoum, in the front and northeastern side of the sim, is another prominent and important feature of the wat. Because of its rounded dome, it is known more popularly as the “Watermelon Stupaï”, That Makmo. Stylistically reflecting a Sinhalese influence, the dome is the sole stupa having such a shape in Laos, and perhaps even in Vietnam and Cambodia. Myanmar travel packages

Active temple with resident monks

That Makmo

That Makmo-source: Internet

With the resident monks living in the kuti and the private quarters of the monks, the Wat Wisunalat is such an active temple. In the grounds, there is a large Bodhi tree, which is much venerated as it was a Bodhi tree under which the Buddha meditated and reached enlightenment, as is the case with many Buddhist temples.

Remarks: Unless you are invited to do, no bare shoulders or legs and avoid touching any of the relics, the usual etiquette with regards to visiting places of worship in Lao applies. It is also wise to maintain a respectful silence where possible.

How to reach the Wat Wisunalat?

Wat Visoun is an active temple with resident monks

Wat Visoun is an active temple with resident monks-source: Internet

Situated South of Mount Phousi and Kingkitsarath road, the temple is located next to the Wat Aham on Thanon Wisunalat in Luang Prabang. You can reach much of the town on foot. Depending on the distance, a jumbo or tuk tuk to the temple will cost from 10,000 (about US$ 1.30) to 15,000 Kip (about US$ 2).

Entrance fee & opening hours

With  an admission of 5,000 Kip (about US$ 0.65) per person, you can visit this temple between 8 am and 5 pm.

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