Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham

Buddhist Temple in Luang Prabang

Image by joloei Getty Images

Wat Mai is one of the city's most sumptuous monasteries, its wooden sǐm (ordination hall) sporting a five-tiered roof in archetypal Luang Prabang style, while the unusually roofed front verandah features detailed golden reliefs depicting scenes from village life, the Ramayana and Buddha's penultimate birth. It was spared destruction in 1887 by the Haw gangs who reportedly found it too beautiful to harm. Since 1894 it has been home to the Sangharat, the head of Lao Buddhism.

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