Wat Long Khoun

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Tags : Buddhist Temple

Timings : Closed on Tuesdays. 8 AM to 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM to 4 PM

Time Required : 1 to 2 hours

Entry Fee : 30,000 LAK or 3.75 USD to enter Haw Pha Bang, located in the Royal Palace premises

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Wat Long Khoun, Luang Prabang Overview

The Phra Bang, which translates to Delicate Buddha in the local language, is a mystical national emblem of Laos. It is an 83cm high statue decorated with gold leaf and is located in Haw Pha Bang temple in the city of Luang Prabang in Laos. Tourists visiting the city should visit this temple to see the sacred national emblem of the country.

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The standing Buddha statue has palms facing forward and is made of an alloy called thong, which is a mixture of bronze, gold, and silver. It is seen as a symbol of the right to rule Laos. The belief attached to the Pra Bang is that only the deserving, righteous state can house this sacred image. The origin of this belief is due to a series of events in history.

Phra Bang History

There are no historical evidence for the origin of the statue of Pha Bang. But a legend goes that it was made in Ceylon or present-day Sri Lanka between the 1st and the 9th century. It was the state emblem and the most revered Buddha during the Angkor period in Cambodia and was moved between the capitals cities during this time.

One of these Khmer kings handed over the image to his son-in-law Prince Fa Ngum, the ruler of Lan Xang kingdom in Laos. It is when the city of Luang Prabang got its name in 1359. It was brought to Laos for the propagation of Theravada Buddhism and to establish the sovereignty of Laos, which was a newly formed Kingdom at that time.

The Siamese or Thais seized Phra Bang statue to take it to Thailand twice in history, during their invasion of Laos in 1778 and 1828. After facing severe misfortunes and political upheavals in Thailand attributed to the presence of the statue in their kingdom, they returned it to Laos in 1867.

It was kept in the National Museum for many years. In 2013, it was moved to Haw Pha Bang temple, dedicated to this statue located in the Royal Palace premises. Every year on the third day of Lao New Year, the icon is taken out in a procession to Wat Mai, where monks bathe it as a part of the festivities.

How To Reach Wat Long Khoun

The Haw Pha Bang temple housing the Phra Bang statue is located in the centre of the old town of Luang Prabang. The best way to reach is on foot. It takes less than 20 minutes. You can also get there by renting a tuk-tuk for about 20,000 LAK or hire a motorbike for about 8 to 10 USD per day. The other way to arrive is by hiring a bike for about 3 to 4 USD per day.

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