Wat Ho Pha Bang
- Old Town Royal Palace Museum grounds
Lonely Planet review for Wat Ho Pha Bang
The Pha Bang is a 83cm tall Buddha cast of a gold, silver and bronze alloy, and is said to weigh 53.4kg. Legend has it the image was cast around the 1st century AD in Sri Lanka and later presented to Khmer King Phaya Sirichantha, who in turn gave it to King Fa Ngum in 1359 as a Buddhist legitimiser of Lao sovereignty. A project planned before the monarchy was abolished in 1975, construction on this highly ornate pavilion began in 1993.
Upon completion the highly revered Pha Bang will be moved from palace museum where it currently rsides, to an altar in the centre of the pavilion.
Since stylistically it's obviously of Khmer origin, its casting most likely took place nearer to the latter date. The Siamese twice carried the image off to Thailand (in 1779 and 1827) but it was finally restored to Lao hands by King Mongkut (Rama IV) in 1867. Persistent rumours claim that the actual image on display is a copy and that the original is stored in a vault either in Vientiane or Moscow. The 'real' one supposedly features a bit of gold leaf over the eyes and a hole drilled through one ankle.