Being considered to be the home of the guardian spirit of Vientiane city, Wat Si Muang is one of the most visited and honorable temples for Lao people. This temple plays a key role in the spiritual and religious life of Lao people.
Wat Si Muang
What is Wat Si Muang?
Being one of the pillars of Vientiane city, Wat Si Muang was built in 1663 by King Setthathirat whom also founded Pha That Luang. During the Siam invasion period in 1828, the temple was damaged greatly. In 1915, like most other temples in Vientiane, the French worked to restore the temple and it was renovated in 1956. Wat Si Muang is the initial point of phasat pheung – the procession of wax candles that highlights the starting of That Luang festival that is the most important Buddhism celebration during the year of Lao people. Wat Si Muang is situated in on the site that is believed to contain the body of Si Muang – the spirit protect the Vientiane city. The core of Wat Si Muang is the square pillar which belonged to the old Khmer sanctuary, has become the city pillar of Vientiane city in 1560.
The foundation of Wat Si Muang is attached to the story of a Laotian young girl named Si. To mollify the anger of the Gods, the King asked for anyone who was willing to sacrifice himself in the hole that was dug to fit one person and horse inside. Si who was pregnant with the first child agreed to be the offering, decided to jump into the moat and was buried alive there. At that time, she was wearing a beautiful back and red clothes which are also thrown in the hole with a horse on top of her. Since then, her spirit starts to watch over Vientiane. In the same place, people established a temple named Wat Si Muang to show tribute and honor to the girl. After that, people started to reside around and worship the temple; Vientiane city began to grow and expand around this position. Therefore, Wat Si Muang has become the central column as well as the foundation of Vientiane.
Statues in Wat Si Muang
The place your wish is granted
Wat Si Muang’s architecture is different from other temples in Vientiane.The decoration of the temple is intricate with paintings, religious relics, statues and wooden carvings. The dominant color of the whole construction is red and yellow gold. The temple consists of two halls. The large entry hall has a copy statue of Pha Kaeo (Emerald Buddha) that is small, seats in the stone and survived after experiencing the hell. According to the local’s belief, this statue has the power to satisfy wish, answer trouble and query. All you need to do is to lift it off the pillow three times while reading your question and wish in your mind. If your wish comes true and your problem is solved, you must come back here with an offering that includes two of banana, coconut, incense, candle and bouquet. That’s the reason why there are hawkers selling all these offerings. The important thing is when your wish is fulfilled, you must return and fulfill your promise. This room is also the place that you can meet monks and receive the blessing from them. The second hall is situated at the end of the temple. The pillar which serves as the altar is here. Behind the temple, there is a small place that includes a brick pillar and statues is believed to be the location where Si lost her life. The back of the temple is the location of the small public park that stands the statue of King Sisavangvong in which he raises one hand and carries the book of the first legal code of Laos.
Inside Wat Si Muang
How to get there?
Wat Si Muang is always crowded and busy with many local people and foreign visitors who arrive here to worship or sightsee. Wat Si Muang is located in the Eastern Vientiane on the way to Friendship Bridge. The official address is Rue Thadeua Street; however; it’s easier to find the temple in the intersection of the streets Setthathilath and Samsenthai. The best way to reach Wat Si Muang is to walk. You can also rent a bike and pay 10,000 kip (~ $1.2) per day or rent a tuk-tuk and pay 20,000 kip (~ $2.4). Wat Si Muang is opened from 6am to 7pm every day. For foreign visitors, it takes 3,000 kip (~ $0.36) for the entrance fee. However the staffs who are accountable for managing the entry actually don't pay attention so in some cases you can enter the temple without pay that amount of money. When you are in the temple, remember to dress respectably and keep silent.
Your trip to Lao can’t be full if you don’t visit Wat Si Muang. Let’s reach this sacred temple and learn more about the religious and spiritual values of Lao.
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