The main purpose of our first planned stop in Laos was to visit Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan) inside a village just outside of the city. I kept seeing photos of this park filled with statues of Hindu and Buddhist figures and was instantly in love with the idea of exploring this park. We made our way to Buddha Park after negotiating a price with a tuk-tuk driver and rode about 30 minutes from our hostel to this stunning site.
The sculptures in this park are the work of one man, Bunleua Sulilat and they range in size from a few feet to 350+ feet! It is truly impressive to see one man’s vision laid out so beautifully. Bunleua Sulilat was a studier of religion and believed that Hindu & Buddhist ideas could and should be integrated, so these 200+ sculptures represent characters from both religions.
The first statue I truly noticed was The Pumpkin (seen above and three photos below). This statue is hollow on the inside with stairs winding up. There are three levels representing hell, earth and heaven. It’s really beautiful and really interesting. Plus, it offers a pretty amazing view of the park from above.
A peek at the earth level of the Pumpkin
The view from the top is beautiful
Indra and his elephant Aviravata
If you’re in Vientiane for a stop-over or for a day or two, this is the favorite stop of mine in the city. It’s really beautiful to see these two religions represented so harmoniously and even more impressive that they were all made by one man. (P.s. when Bunleua Sulilat fled Laos during the revolution, he simply crossed the Mekong into Thailand and apparently built a very similar park there.)
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