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Photographer's Note

Wat Xieng Thong is the most venerated wat and arguably the most magnificent temple in Luang Prabang. Built around 1560 by King Saisetthathirat, Xieng Thong remained under royal patronage for the next 415 years. The main temple is pure Luang Prabang style, with graceful low-sweeping roofs of glazed tiles. The rear of the temple is encrusted with colored glass pieces in a red background, depicting a bodhi tree; This is the impressive 'tree of life' mosaic, with small tiles of colored mirrors forming the mural of a large tree, two peacocks and numerous mystical figures. The exterior of this building features wooden panels of Ramayana figures, sculpted by master artisan Thit Tanh. The sun brings the dazzling gold-leaf-overlaid figures to life--they practically glow.

The beautiful ornamental metal device common to Lao monastic architecture, known as a Dok So Fa, graces the center of the roof of the Sim of Wat Xieng Thong. It is as per Lao belief, believed to symbolize the center of the universe.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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