Wat Ho Phra Kaew

Visitors to this lovely temple set amid manicured grounds would never guess it has had such a turbulent history. The wat was originally built in 1565 to serve as the temple of the Lao royal family, but was razed and looted during the Thai invasion.



The name of the temple is homage to the sacred relic it once housed, the Emerald Buddha, which was stolen by the Thais and now sits in a temple of the same name at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
 
The temple you see now was renovated in the 1940s and, even without the Emerald Buddha, it’s worth a visit for its gallery of 18th century bronze Buddha statues. The collection of art celebrates Buddha in all his forms and devotees wrap the images with saffron fabric or affix squares of gold foil to the faces. The temple grounds are lush and there are a few shady spots for some meditation.
 
Keep an eye out for a jar from the Plain of Jars beneath a small shelter on temple grounds. Most visitors are practising Buddhists and modest attire is required to enter inside. No bare shoulders or thighs.

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