"One man's religious vision." Top 5 Page for this destination Savannakhet Things to Do Tip by planxty
Savannakhet Things to Do: 13 reviews and 14 photos
I went to visit Wat Sounantha at the Northern end of town, and it provided me with several insights into various aspects of of Buddhist religious thinking. Entering the main gate of the comples, my eye was taken by a striking building to the left, which looked modern and was hugely impressive. On reading the bi-lingual sign, I discovered that it was named Rattanaphone Castle and had only been completed less than a year before my visit after five years in construction. It is so named for the eponymous Vong Rattanophone, the abbot and cost the princely sum of over 7 billion kip. In what I thought was a lovely touch, the good man's telephone number is displayed should you wish to speak to him. I was struck by the maount of money that had come from expatriate Lao living overseas, specifically the USA. Unfortunately, this building was locked so I turned my attention to the main wat.
It is an impreeive building and for me the outstanding feature was the raised relief on the front wall showing Lord Buddha apparently standing in the middle of a river dividing two warring armies. I cannot recall seeing a comparable relief in all the temples I have visitedIt was here that I had some of my perceptions of temple etiquette and monkish behaviour slightly challenged. I went in and there were four monks on what I would term the altar. Actually, I initially thought there were three and it was only when the fourth started snoring stentoriously that I realised there was someone under the blanket at the far end. Two other monks were in discussion and I watched amazed as one of them handrolled a cigarette and proceeded to smoke it. To say I was flabbergasted would be an understatement. I was finally approached by the fourth monk, a diminutive, elderly man and we tried to make conversation by the usual hand signals etc. We were getting along wonderfully until he excused himself very politely and scurried off to answer his mobile (cell) 'phone which was chirruping away on the altar.
I have to say I left that place in some confusion as to what proper temple etiquette actually is, it really was an eye-opener.
In keeping with my policy of only attaching one image to each tip, I shall include the one of the wonderful relief and shall add more on my return home.
Directions: The main entrance is on the road that runs parallel to Rattsavongsuek Road one block East and just South of Nalao Road.
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