Wat Visounarath, Luang Prabang

Wat Visounarath is a Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang in Laos dating back to the 16th Century.

Entrance to Wat Visounarath
Entrance to Wat Visounarath

Wat Visounarath is open daily from 08:00 to 17:00 and admission inside the main temple building, which houses a small museum collection, costs 20,000 kip. If you just want to wander around the temple grounds then admission is free.

About Wat Visounarath

There are two major things of interest to see at Wat Visounarath.

That Makmo

The first of these is That Makmo, which is an unusually shaped stupa said to look like a watermelon. Stupa in Laos are typically conical in shape. That Makmo has a rounded top, which is reminiscent of, and perhaps modelled on, the Ruwanwelisaya Stupa in Sri Lanka, which is an important Theravada Buddhist religious monument built around 140 BC.

That Makmo was originally constructed in 1504 with a grant bestowed by the wife of the then King Visounarath, who commissioned the construction of the main temple in 1512. The stupa was destroyed, along with the rest of Wat Visounarath, in 1887 by the  Chinese Black Flag Army and what stands today is reconstruction of the original stupa completed in 1932.

That Makmo - the watermelon stupa
That Makmo is the watermelon stupa
Sim at Wat Visounarath

The other thing worth seeing in Wat Visounarath is the main temple building, or sim. This reconstruction of the original sim was completed in 1898 and contains an impressive collection Buddha statues from other locations in Luang Prabang.

Location of Wat Visounarath

Wat Visounarath is located on the Visounarath Road in Luang Prabang.

Google Map of Wat Visounarath

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