History of Pha That Luang
The temple is located at the end of That Luang Road which brings its name Pha That Luang. According to the locals, That Luang was originally a Hindu temple built in the 3rd century. It is said that Buddhist missionaries from the Mauryan Empire brought a relic of Buddha to this stupa. However, in the 13th century, it was reconstructed as a Khmer temple. Then, the temple was rebuilt by the mandate of the King Setthathirat in 1566. This sacred place fell in the ruin and was rebuilt many times for different reasons in the 19th and 20th century. The stupa has been submitted to the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Highlights of Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang is in pyramid shape of 45m x 69m in height and width, respectively. Moreover, it is surrounded by 30 small stupas and covered with 500kg of gold leaf. The stupa is built on 3 levels. The first level is the underworld and there are hundreds of sema stones on the top of the wall. A prayer gate or Haw Wai with a double roof decorated with a Buddha statue is at the center of each side of the wall. The stairs are guarded by Naga snakes. The second one includes 30 perfections of Buddhism. The third has a 45m high stupa whose upper part looks like an elongated lotus bud.
Inside the stupa is designed with the Spartan style. Visitors can have a walk through the cloisters with small windows where consits of various ancient sculptures and paintings of Laos and Khmer. The most notable item among them is an image of King Jayavarman VII of the Khmer Empire. There are several altars at the foot of Pha That Luang and you can make offerings here.
On the main entrance to the interior of the complex of Pha That Luang is Saysettha gardens where a statue of the King Sethathirat is situated. The small wats around Pha That Luang are striking sites attracting tourists. In the 16th century, there were four temples constructed around the stupa, one on each side. On the other hand, today only two remain. Wat That Luang Tai in the south is an open building with a 3 tiered roof. Wat That Luang Neua in the north is a Thai-style palace with very impressive facade.
Other structures on the grounds visitors can find are a bell tower, a large golden reclining Buddha and Buddhist convention hall.
The most important festival of Lao Buddhists, Boun That Luang, is mainly held in Pha That Luang during 3 days and nights. Buddhist devotees hold incense sticks and walk around the stupa three times to pay their respect. A large number of exciting activities include candlelight procession, fireworks, musical performances, parades of people who dress in traditional costumes and play traditional music.
Opening Hours : Everyday, in the morning from 8:00 to 12:00, in the evening from 13:00 to 16:00
Price ticket : 5,000 Kips