For me, without a question, the best part of Luang Prabang is its temples. There are seemingly dozens, all rather different, all filled with an ethereal calm I’ve rarely experienced. To stroll through the grounds of a wat is to enter another world. The buildings, the saffron-robed monks, the sound of the temple gongs, the smell of incense sticks floating through the air, it is all magical.
Here are some of the many temples of Luang Prabang:
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham (The New Monastery of the Golden Land)
*'Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham or simply Wat Mai, is the biggest Budhhist temple in Luang Prabang. The name Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham means The New Monastery of the Golden Land. It is located along Sisavang Vong Road , close to Haw Kham, the Royal Palace Museum.
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham was built in 1796 by King Anourout (also written Anurat) in 1796-7. In 1821, King Manthathourat embarked on a thorough face-lift, restoring the sim with its 5-tier roof, adding a double colonnaded porch in front of the sim, and another at the rear. With a new look comes a new name: King Manthathourat gave it its present name, Wat Mai, which means New Monastery.
Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham, being next door to the Royal Palace, received royal patronage. An added significance of Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham is that it was once the residence of the Sangkhalat (also written Pra Sangkarat), a sort of the Buddhist Cardinal for Laos.'
Wat Meunna ??(The Monastery of Ten Thousand Rice Fields)
*'Wat Meunna got its name from meun, a unit of weight equal to about 12 kilos. So, Wat Meunna was called the Monastery of Ten Thousand Rice Fields. This is the amount of rice given by each villager for its construction in 1533, during the reign of King Photthisarat (1520-48).'
Wat Meunna Gong house
*'Wat Hosian is a Lao temple in Luang Prabang. It is located along the Chao Fa Ngum Road, the main road in Luang Prabang. To enter it, you climb a short flight of steps flanked on both sides with silver naga balustrades. The balustrades are very interesting in that at the end of it, the mouth of the naga spews out several smaller nagas.
Around the compound are a few stupas, a drum house, and very simple quarters for the monks, built like rural houses, on stilts. Next door to Wat Hosian, accessible via a short flight of stairs going down the slope, is Wat That.'
Wat Xieng Thong (Monastery of the Golden City)
*'Wat Xieng Thong is regarded as the most beautiful temple, not only in Luang Prabang but one of the most exquisite in all of Laos. The name Wat Xieng Thong means Monastery of the Golden City. Located close to the tip of the Luang Prabang peninsula, where the Nam Khan flows into the Mekong River, Wat Xieng Thong was built by King Setthathirath in 1560, during the golden years of Lan Xang Kingdom. It gracefully sloping roof and glass murals epitomise the classical Luang Prabang style of temple architecture.'
Wat Pa Phai (Monastery of the Bamboo Forest)
*'Wat Pa Phai is located on Sakkarine Road, on the corner with Savang Vatthana road, in Luang Prabang. The name Wat Pa Phai means Monastery of the Bamboo Forest.
It is not known when Wat Pa Phai was first built since various records put the date differently. According to French historian Henri Parmentier, Wat Pa Phai was built in 1645. However, Luang Prabang historian Chao Khaminanh Vongkot Rattana placed its construction date much later, at 1815.'
This is the second part of my series about Luang Prabang Temples. Click here for the first part.
*Infos from asiaexplorer