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Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang or the Great Stupa is a gold-plated temple in the Hindu area of the 1st century AD and over time became a Buddhist temple in the 3rd century AD in downtown Vientiane, Laos, and has undergone several reconstructions including the 1930s because of the invasion foreigners in the area. Stupas are considered the most important national monuments in Laos and national symbols.

Lao people say Pha That Luang was originally built as a Hindu temple in the 1st century. Chronicles telling Buddhist missionaries from the Mauryan Empire had been sent by Emperor Ashoka including Bury Chan or Praya Chanthabury Pasithisak and five Arahata monks who brought the sacred relics of the Buddha to the stupa.

Xvlor Pha That Luang Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang was rebuilt in the 13th century as a Khmer temple. In the mid-16th century, King Setthathirat moved the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and ordered the reconstruction of Pha That Luang in 1566 for the layout of 69 meters long, 45 meters wide and surrounded by 30 small stupas.

However, the stupas were repeatedly plundered by Burmese, Siamese and Chinese. Pha That Luang was destroyed by Thailand in 1828 in an invasion that caused the temple to be severely damaged and abandoned. In 1900, France returned to its original design based on detailed drawings from 1867 by French architect and explorer Louis Delaporte.

But the first attempt was unsuccessful and had to be redesigned and then reconstructed in the 1930s. During Franco-Thai War, Pha That Luang was severely damaged by the Thai airstrikes. After the end of World War II, Pha That Luang was reconstructed into what is seen now.

The architecture of the building includes many references to the culture and identity of Laos and has become a symbol of Lao nationalism. The current stupa consists of three levels and each carries a reflection of Buddhist teachings.

The first level is 67 meters (223 feet) by 68 meters (226 feet), the second level is 47 meters (157 feet) each side and the third level is 29 meters (98 feet) each side. Pha That Luang is 44 meters (147.6 feet) high and the walls surrounding the stupa on each side contain a large number of Lao and Khmer statues including Jayavarman VII. Pha That Luang

Xvlor Pha That Luang

Location: Vientiane, Laos.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Wattay International Airport in Vientiane City.

Advice: Entrance fee 5,000 kip for foreign tourists and 2,000 kip for Laos (April 2018). Stupa is open daily from 8 am to 11 am and 1 pm to 4 pm. Accessing the inner pages gives you a closer view of the stupa and many Buddhist statues.

Two temples beside Pha That Luang are Wat That Luang Neua in the north and Wat That Luang Tai to the south. The Bun That Luang Festival was held at Pha That Luang on the full moon during November as the most important festival in the city of Vientiane.

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