Laos

   


Places of Interest in Laos
Luang Prabang
Vientiene
Travel Guide




Wat Visoun

On the south side of Mount Phousi, outside of the main area of the old city, is the very old temple of Wat Visoun, also called Wat Wisunalat. The temple's most notable feature is the large squat stupa in its forecourt.  Even though the replica has been built only in 1898, it does exude the atmosphere of a monastery of the middle ages. The Wat houses numerous religious art treasures.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61431010@N00/112938939<< Nig Buddha in Wat Visoun

History

The stupa is officially named as That Pathum (Lotus Stupa) but is more commonly known as That Makmo because its shape resembles a watermelon ('makmo' being Lao for watermelon).

The stupa was originally constructed around the turn of the sixteenth century, in 1513. Its interior was originally filled with hundreds of small Buddha images fashioned in precious metals and crystal. When the Chinese Haw sacked the city's temples near the end of the nineteenth century, the smashed open the stupa and stole most of the images. What remained is now on display in the Royal Palace Museum.

What to see

Inside the large sim is a typical altar with a large seated Buddha statue surrounded by many standing images. In addition to these, around the outer wall of the "sima" (ordination hall) behind the altar are arrayed many more standing Buddha images (a pose commonly refered to as the 'Calling for Rain' style). These were moved here from other temples destroyed during the Haw invasion.

The temple is adjacent to Wat Aham, so a visit to one typically takes in the other.

Admission Fee

Westerners are asked to pay an entrance fee of 5,000 Kips (US $0.50) to visit Wat Visoun.

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