"Vientiane (Xieng Khuan)" Laos Things to Do Tip by worldtraveler55
Laos Things to Do: 298 reviews and 556 photos
In a field by the Mekong River about 24 km south of central Vientiane, Xieng Khuan is a park full of Buddhist and Hindu sculpture that is a monument to one eccentric man's quite bizarre ambition.
Xieng Khuan was designed and built in 1958 by Luang Pu (Venerable Grandfather) Bunleua Sulilat , a yogi-priest-shaman who merged Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, mythology and iconography into a cryptic whole.
Originally, Bunleua is supposed to have studied under a Hindu rishi (sage) who lived in Vietnam. Legend has it that their meeting was fortunate, as while Bunleua was walking in the mountains he fell through a sinkhole and landed in the rishi's lap.
Bunleua developed a large fellowing in Laos and northeastern Thailand, and moved to Thailand around the time of the 1975 Revolution.
The concrete sculptures at Xieng Khuan (wich means "Spirit City") are bizarre but compelling in their naive confidence. They include statues of Shiva, Vishnu, Arjuna, Avalokiteshvara, Buddha and numerous other deities.
The large pumpkin-shaped concrete monument in the grounds has three levels joined by interior stairways. the levels are said to represent hell, earth and heaven, and lead to the roof and panoramic views of the park
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