Situated at Phomathat Road in the mutual compound as Wat Visoun in Luang Prabang, Laos, the Wat Aham is a small temple including a sim coming with two ancient stupas. Its historical importance lies in the fact that it used to be the dwelling place of Sangkharat, the paramount captain of Lao Buddhism. Indochina tours Laos
Established in 1818 on the area of a much older temple dating back to 1527, the ancient temple has a history of both Buddhism and spirit worship. Two prominent banyan trees which are regarded as spiritual shrines surround the Wat.
Between the street and the temple is the location of the two very giant and old banyan trees that lodged the Devata Luang, the guardian spirits of Luang Prabang town. Wat Wisunalat is located next to the Wat Aham and a large elaborate gateway was built to make it easy to go back and forth between the two temples. Travel to Laos
Nearly 200 years later during the reign of King Phothisarath the shrines were damaged. The King was a pious Buddhist who worked to put down spiritual beliefs and spirit worshipping. He had the shrines damaged and replaced by a Buddhist temple on the site which nowadays called the Wat Aham. Right after the town of Luang Prabang was hit by various disasters containing of diseases, drought and failed crop, local people believed that the devastation of the spirit shrines to be the raison. When the spirit houses were broken up one more time in the 20th century, the spirits were believed to have taken lodge in the giant banyan trees on the temple grounds. Today the spirits are even recalled during the Laos new-year festival celebrations.
The beautiful structure has a three rowed roof, its rears ornamented with stylized Naga distinctive decorations. There are four pillars with golden capitals in the shape of a lotus flower support its front porch. The front façade is elaborately decorated in gold and red. The red colored in pediment shape over the front door includes a colorful carved depiction of a seated Buddha teaching a number of followers surrounded by designs of lotus flowers while the door panels are meticulously decorated with carved and gilded deities.
A giant sitting Buddha seated on an elaborate pedestal, surrounded by a number of smaller images is the main Buddha image of the Wat Aham. The walls are fully covered with colorful murals with depictions of scenes from the Jataka legends, the stories about the last lives of the Buddha. Other murals represent scenes of Buddhist inferno, with rather evident descriptions of the punishments and tortures received by those who stay there.
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