September 4, 2016
2732 LAOS (Vientiane Capital) - Buddha Park
Buddha Park, also known as Xieng Khuan (which means Spirit City), is a sculpture park located 25 km southeast from Vientiane, in a meadow by the Mekong River. Although it is not a temple (Wat), the park may be referred to as Wat Xieng Khuan, since it contains numerous religious images. The park contains over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. The park was started in 1958 by Luang Pu (Venerable Grandfather) Bunleua Sulilat, a priest-shaman who integrated Hinduism and Buddhism.
After the revolution in 1975, anxious about the repercussions of the rule of Pathet Lao, he fled to Thailand where he built another sculpture park, Sala Keoku in Nong Khai. Both parks are located right next to the Thai-Lao border (Mekong river), and the tallest structures of the Buddha Park can actually be seen from the Thai side of Mekong. There are numerous sculptures of Buddha, characters of Buddhist beliefs like Avalokiteśvara, and characters of Hindu lore, including Shiva, Vishnu, and Arjuna.
The park has three stories representing three levels - Hell, Earth and Heaven. Visitors can enter through an opening which is a mouth of a 3-metre-tall demon head and climb staircases from hell to heaven. Each story contains sculptures depicting the level. At the top, there is a vantage point where the entire park is visible. The statues are made of reinforced concrete and are ornate, and sometimes bizarre, in design. The statues appear to be centuries old, though they are not.
About the stamp, issued to commemorate the ASEAN Community, I wrote here.
Buddha Park - Wikipedia
Sent from Vientiane (Vientiane Prefecture / Laos), on 22.08.2016
Photo: Michel Huteau