Archeology

One thing that does not change is the magic the old culture including the way of living of Lao people is the thing that the world tourists wish to see...


SIKHOTTABONG STUPA
IF you ever have a chance to operate any businesses or visit Thakhek, Khammouan province, please go and see Sikhottabong stupa, a high standard of architecture and a beautiful historical site in Laos.

ITS LOCATION
This stupa is located in the former city of the Sikhottabong Empire, 6 km south from Thakhek city along the road No.13 B, section Thakhek-Nangbok. It was built on the flat terrain along the bank of the Mekong river. This stupa illustrates an important architecture of Laos. Its shape looks like a four stupa. If we look far away, it looks like the lotus. It is the middle size stupa which was reconstructured in the 16th century by King Sayasetthathirath when he governed Lanexang Kingdom.

WHO BUILT THIS STUPA?
According to Khammouan Tourism office, this stupa was formerly built in the Sikhottabong Empire to mark the reputation of King Sikhottabong. The former stupa was the place to keep the bones of the 4 Lard Buddha whose names are Koukousantho, Konakhamano, Katsapo and Khotamo. It was built by King Souminthalat or Soumittathammavongsathilath of Sikhottabong Empire by the advice of some honourable monks to mark the dignity and reputation of the king Sikhottabong and the bones of the four Lord Buddha were kept inside.

ANOTHER DATA
According to Maha Sila VIRAVONG, this temple was built by King Sayasetthathrirath in the 16th century between 1566-1567 to cover the old stupa built in the Sikhottabong Empire. Professor Bounheng BOUASISENG- PASEUTH also agrees that it was built in 16th century and built to cover the old stupa of Ssikhottabong. This former one was 1.30 meter high. It is believed that the old stupa, was in the area around the present one. Some evidence about Sikhottabong stupa are as follows :
1. Trail of an old big stupa.
2. Trail of Phrakachai house ( the big belly Buddha image).
3. Trail of old monk house.
4. Trail of old temple.
5. Houai Kaoma stream, an historical stream the story of which is related to Sikhottabong history.
6. The milestones.

Among these above evidences, the milestone sculptured the shape of stupa in the centre was found under the ground of the old temple area. The milestone is the same as in Vientiane and Longngum area in Thoulakhom and Keo-Oudom districts, Vientiane province where the historical arts of Mon-Khorm made when Sikhottabong Empire proposed. Due to the above evidences, Professor Bounheng BOUASISENGPRASEUTH emphasized that the present Sikhottabong stupa was built by King Sayasetthathirath in 16th century covering the old stupa built in the 6th and 10th centuries which has related story on the construction of That Phnom in Thailand and That Ing Hang in Savannakhet. To sum up, it can be said that the old Sikhottabong stupa was built by King Souminthalath or Souminttatha- mmavongsathilath to mark the between 6th and 10th centuries.  When King Sayasetthathirath governed Vientiane in 16th century, he rebuilt Sikhottabong stupa, the same as he did for That Luang at Vientiane. He reconstructured the big stupa to cover the old stupa which was built by Boulichan or PhraNha Chanthabouli Pasitthisak and five honourable monks.

TRADITION FESTIVAL

Sikhottabong stupa is an old architecture of Thakhek, Khammouan and lao people. In the full moon of the third month, the annual rite was organized by Khammouan people and other provinces involving people from Isarn Thailand, Nakorn Phnom and the nearby provinces to gather for the stupa worshipping and entertainment.


VOD LAO
"Vod" is a traditional Lao musicial instrument. It is played either by blowing or throwing with the string. It is very popular in rural area. How nice of its voice are depended on the players. If the player can play low and high voice it makes the listeners to please with the sounds. The main part of the Vod is made of hard bamboo. To make a Vod, the bamboos cut from the forest. The bamboo is them peeled and left to dried under the sun. After making the main structure, the smaller bamboo pipes are made. These amaller pipes are known as "Louk Vod". Once all the pieces are dried, they are fixed together by local glue "Kisoud" the instrument is then ready for playing. As mentioned above the instrument can be played by throwing it in to the air. To do this, it should tie with string, then taken to a high place and thrown to the sky. usually young farmers make and play it in the winter ot at harvesting time. According to old people it is played to say thank you to the gog of rain. Today the Vod is still preserved as a local musical instrument. It was originally made by the Lao and thenit was made 2000 years ago at the same time as Kene was made.


JIENG TEUM STUPA
Jieng Teum stupa is one of the oldest worshipping grounds in Muong Sing District, Luangnamtha Province. It's beautiful architecture captures interest among cultural tourism from both local and foreign tourist. Once in Muong Sing district, opportunity to visit and worship Jieng Teum stupa tells one how much there is to know about Moung sing district. Jieng Teum stupa is considered a middle sized stupa, it's bottom is rounded with an octagon shaped point at top, artistry of leu tribe. It is decorated with mosaics and Buddhist symbols with four little stupas at each corner and sculpture of a young child. Moung Sing is 58 km from Luangnamtha district. Upon entering Moung Sing, one can see a plaque written in the Leu language. There are two ways to get to Jieng teum Stupa, by road and by mounting the stairs of 300 steps.

According to the Luangnamtha Museum, the stupa was built in the year 1796 and later renovated in 1997 with an addition of two stupa of the small size. The well-protected areas of Jieng Teum stupa are in perfect condition and presently taken care of by the locals. the locals of Luangnamtha province prepare an annual at the same time of the That Luang festival of Vientiane. The surrounding of the stupa include a water spring and a road to Namkeo waterfall. Ethnic minority groups inhabiting within their traditional culture and customs. Many stories relate that Jieng Teum stupa was built by a young prince named Inphan, the son of the King of Moung San, King savannifa. Reincarnated from his pervious life, he became a very gifted child at the age of 7 and later became the guardian of Xieng Kaeng Village, Muong Sing district Luangnamtha province.

VML team members visited Jieng Teum stupa on the first of June 2000 along the winding road because time limit kept us from using the stairs. Visiting Jieng Teum stupa, we came to know the art and architecture of the Leu tribe, old cultures and traditional culture of the livelihoods of many surrounding ethnic groups.

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  Information provided by Laos National Tourism Authority.

 

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