Vat Phou Temple
Vat Phou Temple in Champasak
Wat Phu (Vat Phou) is an ancient Khmer temple site situated on a hillside in the Champasak province in southern Laos. The complex consists of temple pillars, walls, and doorways, along with the remains of palaces, courtyards, and a library. Vat Phou offers stunning views across the Mekong River, and there is also a natural spring that the locals believe produces holy water.
The ancient ruins of Vat Phou are even older than those of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, and the site was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. One temple in the complex is said to have been built as far back as the 5th century, although most of the structures are from the 11th to the 13th centuries. The exquisite workmanship can still been seen today, with numerous Hindu carvings decorating the site. Because Buddhism replaced Hinduism in Laos in the 13th century, there are also various Buddha images to be found among the ruins, and the site remains an active Buddhist place of worship to this day.
If you visit Wat Phu on the full moon of the third lunar month (usually in February), you will come across the temple’s biggest annual festival with many impressive ceremonies and fun activities going on during the week-long period. These include monk-blessing ceremonies, elephant racing, buffalo and cock fighting as well as a trade fair. The event is never short of entertainment such as live music and traditional Lao dancing.
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