Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang, Vientiane 2017

The Great Stupa, Pha That Luang, is a 16th-century Buddhist stupa in Vientiane, Laos. There are various legends about the place: one says that there was initially a sanctuary of the Mon, another that here two Nagas resided and a third, that emissaries of King Ashoka around the year 307 BC brought a relic of the Buddha here. When King Sai Setthathirath I. moved his capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, he is said to have commissioned the construction of a stupa on the ruins of a 13th century Khmer temple.

The monument is surrounded by a square, inwardly open, covered walkway, in which some statues in the Khmer and Lao style are set up. The stupa stands on three smaller terraces that are each supported on the outside by large, stylized lotus flower petals. By gates on the four sides, the next level is reached. The top of the 45-meter-high structure represents a stylized banana blossom. The entire stupa is in gold and on sunny days, it shines impressively in the landscape.


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