A tuktuk sits on a hill overlooking grass-covered That Foun (also called That Chomsi). The brick stupa (Buddhist shrine) was built in 1576 in an ancient capital city, Xieng Khuang, in present-day Muang Khoun (northeastern Laos).
In the 19th century, Chinese bandits tunnelled into the stupa’s interior, creating the entryway that is visible today. They spirited away the priceless Buddhist relics from within.
Where in the World?
Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.
Wat Phia Wat and its focal point — a war-scarred Buddha statue — are only 30 kilometers from Phonsavan. Given Laos’ rugged dirt roads, we were not eager to hop into a tuktuk and endure more bumpiness to get to this now-destroyed Laotian Buddhist temple. During an all-day tour of the Plain of Jars just a few days earlier, we’d felt like human kernels of corn being tossed in a popcorn popper! Nevertheless, to better understand the so-called American Secret War in Laos, Shawn and I felt it was important to see this Laotian region’s former capital city in Muang Khoun. (It was previously known as Xieng Khuang.)
Continue reading “The Enduring Buddha at War-Ravaged Wat Phia Wat, Laos”