Photo: The eaves of Wat Visounnarath.

Wat Visounnarath and Wat Aham

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Wat Aham and Wat Visounnarath (Visoun) occupy a spacious corner at the intersection of Phommathat and Visounnarath Road, but the complex is probably best known for Wat That Makmo, literally the “watermelon stupa” because of its distinctive rounded shape.

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Wat Visounnarath was named after King Visounnarath—it was under his reign that the temple was constructed in 1503-4. Records suggest that the original was ornate and spectacular, and legend has it some 4,000 trees were used to complete its construction. The dozen pillars that supported the interior were each 30 metres tall and the building’s exterior was made entirely of wood. The golden Pra Bang Buddha statue, Laos’ most important sacred relic, was kept here from 1513 to 1707.

Peering inside Wat Visounnarath. Photo taken in or around Wat Visounnarath and Wat Aham, Luang Prabang, Laos by Cindy Fan.

Peering inside Wat Visounnarath. Photo: Cindy Fan

The impressive scale of the temple didn’t sway the Black Flag Army, Chinese invaders who raided and razed it to the ground in 1887. The temple was ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)


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