Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wat Xieng Khuan - Vientiane's Buddha Park

Wat Xieng Khuan - also know as Vientiane's Buddha sculpture park, is about 25 km outside of Vientiane, passing the Friendship bridge for probably 6 km. The park itself is in a small garden and located directly on the banks of the Mekong River opposite Nong Khai in Thailand.

In Lao language Xieng Khuan means Spirit City, however this place is a park and not a Buddhist temple (wat). The park contains around 200 Hindu and Buddhist sculptures.
Wat Xieng Khuan was constructed by Luang Pu Bunleua Sulilat in 1958. He was a shaman who was integrating Hinduism and Buddhism traditions. After the communist take over in 1975 he fled to Thailand. Where he built Sala Keo Ku in Nong Khai, a similar sculpture park, but bigger in size.

The bizarre design of the cement made sculptures is quite appealing and interesting... Somehow they give the observer the feeling, that they are century old, which they are obviously not.

There are numerous Buddha and Hindu statues, along with sculptures of humans, gods, animals, and demons. One sculpture which looks like a giant tomato has in the front a face of a daemon. Viewers can enter the sculpture through the giant and widely open mouth. At the top of the tomato shaped figure is a view point where the entire park is visible. The enormous 40 m long reclining Buddha is the other main attraction.

Wat Xieng Khuan is one of Vientiane's better know attractions.

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