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Wat Aham

Two huge banyan trees mark the holy site of Wat Aham, once the residence of the Supreme Patriarch of Lao Buddhism. The temple was built in 1818 on the site of a much older temple dating from 1527.

A temple combines the worship of guardian spirits and Buddhism

A bit of a stutter is the temple's history.  It is said that a tutelary shrine was built at this site to worship two guardian spirits of Luang Prabang (Luang devata): Pu No and Na No. Nearly two centuries later the King Phothisarath, a devoted Buddhist, destroyed the temple and rebuilt a Buddhist temple named Wat Aham. However shortly after the temple was destroyed the kingdom was hit by several disasters and it was again destroyed and rebuilt - the destruction of the spirit shrine was considered to be the cause. Interesting enough, the spirit houses were destroyed in the 20th century, and this time local people believed that the spirits have taken residence in the two large banyan trees on the temple grounds. Even today the spirits are still worshipped and co-existed with Buddhism.

Despite a relatively simple façade with porches and overlapping roofs, the interior is bright and colorful. The pillars and beams are painted red and gold, and walls are covered with murals depicting Buddhist doctrines. The Wat Aham also houses some wooden masks which are used for the famous "mask dances" performed during Lunar New Year in Laos.

You might also have interest in the Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Visoun near the Wat Aham and the following tours including a visit the Wat Aham6-Day Laos Impression: Vientiane & Luang Prabang.

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