Wat Xieng Thong Temple (18 photos)
Our visit to Wat Xieng Thong was a highlight of our stay in the ancient royal city of Luang Prabang in northern Laos.
Built in 1560 by King Setthethirat, this magnificent temple has the classic architecture of Luang Prabang, with ornate roofs that sweep low to the ground. It also has many other buildings including a funeral chapel.
The main temple building houses a large Buddha that is surrounded by offerings. To one side is an almost life-size gold statue of a venerated monk. Pilgrims can add gold lead to the statue, which also has many offerings, as well as a photo of the monk. The walls and the wooden columns that support the ceiling are richly decorated with geometric patterns and bizarre scenes of what may, or may not, have been daily life.
Many exterior temple walls and railings are decorated with colourful glass mosaics, and one wall displays a large tree of life.
The funeral chapel is also decorated with more mosaics and numerous Buddhas. There’s also a 12-metre high golden funeral chariot, complete with dragon/serpent heads, and funeral urns for each member of the royal family.
This temple remained under royal patronage until 1975.