Home Places to Go Wat Xieng Thong – A Sacred Religious Symbol of Laos

Wat Xieng Thong – A Sacred Religious Symbol of Laos

26 March 2017

Wat Xieng Thong or “The Temple of the Golden City” is a Buddha temple situated in Luang Prabang, Laos. It was considered the ceremonial gateway to the town because of on the northern tip of the peninsula at the confluence of Mekong and Nam Khan River. This following text will introduce you to the finest temple of Wat Xieng Thong. 

History of Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong was built by the King Setthathirath in 1560. This temple was damaged during the sacking of the city in 1887. It was a temple of the royal family until 1975. Therefore, the coronation of Lao Kings and important annual festivals were organized in the wat. Main restorations took place in the 1950s and 1960s. However, this temple still remains in its original structure with repairs to small details on the roof, walls and entrance. 

Wat Xieng Thong 1

Highlights of Wat Xieng Thong
Wat Xieng Thong is a typical example of Lao art and craft. The wood doors describing Buddha’s life are covered with gold. The ceiling of the ordination hall is decorated with dharma wheels presenting Buddhist law and the circle of reincarnation. The rear outer walls is tree of life mosaic, a symbol of the temple. The tree is a tale of the foundation of the wat. According to this story, two hermits created the sanctuary next to a large flame tree where the rivers join. 

Wat Xieng Thong 2


Wat Xieng Thong 3

The wat includes three compact little chapel halls. The first hall like a tomb displays a standing Buddha. Another hall called Red Chapel contains a rare reclining black Buddha from the reign of King Setthathirat. The Buddha image was displayed in Paris in 1931 and brought back to the temple in 1964. It is considered as an extremely unique statue. The glass mosaics on the Red Chapel’s wall depict the heaven, scenes of people, animals and trees. 

Wat Xieng Thong 4


Wat Xieng Thong 5

The other is the royal funerary carriage house where the 12m high funeral carriage containing royal ashes is shown. It was carried through the streets of Luang Prabang. The royal urns with ashes inside are protected by a naga or serpent king statue.

Wat Xieng Thong 6

The Tripitaka library was added in 1880 and then the drum tower in 1961. 

Wat Xieng Thong 7

Opening Hours: 08:00 - 17:00 every day

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