World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang

Pha That Luang (Lao: ພຣະທາດຫຼວງ, IPA:  'Great Stupa') is a gold-covered large Buddhist stupa in the centre of Vientiane, Laos.[1] Since its initial establishment, suggested to be in the 3rd century, the stupa has undergone several reconstructions as recently as the 1930s due to foreign invasions of the area. It is generally regarded as the most important national monument in Laos and a national symbol.[2]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Architecture 2
  • Gallery 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

History

Pha That Luang and its place in Vientiane

Pha That Luang according to the Lao people was originally built as a Hindu temple in the 3rd century. Buddhist missionaries from the Mauryan Empire are believed to have been sent by the Emperor Ashoka, including Bury Chan or Praya Chanthabury Pasithisak and five Arahata monks who brought a holy relic (believed to be the breastbone) of Lord Buddha to the stupa.[2] It was rebuilt in the 13th century as a Khmer temple which fell into ruin.

In the mid-16th century, King Setthathirat relocated his capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and ordered construction of Pha That Luang in 1566.[3] It was rebuilt about 4 km from the centre of Vientiane at the end of That Luang Road and named Pha That Luang.[2] The bases had a length of 69 metres each and was 45 metres high, and was surrounded by 30 small Stupas.[2]

In 1641, a Dutch envoy of the Dutch East India Company, Gerrit van Wuysoff, visited Vientiane and was received by King Sourigna Vongsa at the temple, where he was, reportedly, received in a magnificent ceremony. He wrote that he was particularly impressed by the "enormous pyramid and the top was covered with gold leaf weighing about a thousand pounds".[4] However, the stupa was repeatedly plundered by the Burmese, Siamese and Chinese.[3]

Pha That Luang was destroyed by the Thai invasion in 1828, which left it heavily damaged and left abandoned. It was not until 1900 that the French restored to its original design based on the detailed drawings from 1867 by the French architect and explorer Louis Delaporte.[3] However the first attempt to restore it was unsuccessful and it had to be redesigned and then reconstructed in the 1930s.[3] During the Franco-Thai War, Pha That Luang was heavily damaged during a Thai air raid. After the end of World War II, Pha That Luang was reconstructed.

Architecture

The architecture of the building includes many references to Lao culture and identity, and so has become a symbol of Lao nationalism. The stupa today consists of three levels, each conveying a reflection of part of the Buddhist doctrine. The first level is 223 feet (67 metres) by 226 feet (68 metres), the second is 157 feet (47 metres) along each side and the third level is 98 feet (29 metres) along each side.[3] From ground to pinniacle, Pha That Luang is 147.6 feet (44 metres) high.[3]

The area around Pha That Luang is now gated, to keep traffic out. Previously visitors could drive around the whole complex. The encircling walls are roughly 279 feet (85 metres) long on each side and contain a large number of Lao and Khmer sculptures including one of Jayavarman VII.[3]

Gallery

References

  1. ^ Foreman, William (2004-12-28). "Laos: A day in Vientiane is full of temples, colonial architecture and surprises". USA Today / AP. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Half Day Tour In Vientiane". Lasi Global. May 1, 2009. Retrieved September 26, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Pha That Luang (built 1566, reconstructed 1930)". Asian Historical Architecture. Retrieved September 26, 2009. 
  4. ^ Cummings, J., Burke, A (1994). Lonely Planet Country Guides:Laos.  

External links

Video clip

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.