Located on a hill about three miles northeast of the centre of Vientiane, Pha That Luang (The Great Stupa or Sacred Reliquary) is considered as the most important national monument and the symbol of both the Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty. It is an impressive gold-covered large Buddhist stupa whose gilded structure reflects marvelously in the midday sunlight.

Pha That Luang was initially built as a Hindu temple in the 3rd century and since then to the 1930s, it underwent several reconstructions because of foreign invasions to the area. In the mid-16th century, King Setthathriat relocated the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and ordered construction of Pha That Luang in 1566. The stupa was built with enormous grand pyramid and the top was covered with gold leaf weighing about a thousand pounds. Each base was 69 metres long, 45 metres high and surrounded by 30 small stupas. In 1828 Pha That Luang was destroyed by the Thai Invasion. In 1900 it was restored to its original design by the French and up to the 1930s the restoring was successful. The architecture o the building consists of many references to Lao culture and three levels, each reflects a part of the Buddhist doctrine. Inside of the stupa there are amazing hand painted art works and around it there numerous statues of Buddha and deities which are well crafted and dressed in bright robes. The best time to visit is in November when the country’s most important religious festival takes place here.

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