Photo Du Jour: Nagas, the Fire Serpents of the Mekong

 

Some Laotians and Thais believe that serpent-like creatures (nagas) inhabit the chocolate-colored waters of the Mekong River. In Lao mythology, nagas protect Laos’ capital city, Vientiane, and beyond. These snake-like creatures also adorn many nooks and crannies of Laos’ jewel city, Luang Prabang. Some followers of Buddhism even attribute mysterious fireball-like projectiles to the Mekong’s resident nagas, whereas scientists believe the flares of light are the result of bubbling methane.

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Twinkle, Twinkle Wat Xieng Thong – Luang Prabang, Laos

In the late afternoon sunlight, the small shrine’s mosaic-adorned walls shimmered like precious gems. As I shifted my footing and perspective – moving only mere inches at a time – different vignettes were illuminated by the vibrant rays. The Buddhist shrine – on which the cut glass portrays Buddhist imagery – is one of twenty structures in the Wat Xieng Thong monastery compound in charming Luang Prabang. The temple is not far from the Mekong River.

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Photo du Jour #40: Sunset Over the Mekong – Luang Prabang, Laos

‘Twas a lovely manner in which to be greeted in our newest home away from home city: a tangerine-colored sun swiftly slipping behind the mountains, slow boats gracefully coasting along the Mekong, and merchants carrying hundreds of baskets of oranges from the boats to trucks waiting on the quay. Ah, lovely Luang Prabang!