Monday, September 1, 2008

Buddha takes a rest

A Buddha figure surrounded by some pretty sharp teeth, at That Ing Hang
The story goes that during his wanderings, Buddha felt sick and rested by leaning against a tree at the site now known as That Ing Hang. It's located about 12kms northeast of Savannakhet in Laos and a relic of Buddha's spine is reputed to be kept inside the thaat (stupa). Much revered and the focus of an annual festival that draws tens of thousands, That Ing Hang is a 16th century 9m-high construction attributed to King Setthathirat, the Jayavarman VII of his time. The stuccoed exterior hosts some fanciful carvings, a few of which I've posted here, whilst the lower section chamber contains a collection of Buddha images but was locked on our visit and the keyholder was nowhere to be found. The cloisters surrounding the stupa house a large array of seated Buddhas, whilst a weather-beaten sandstone lion suggests it was deposited there from an old Khmer prasat in the neighbourhood, most likely Heuan Hin, at some stage.
The much revered stupa at That Ing Hang, near Savannakhet
One of the wall guardians at the stupa, with a mini-me figure at its feet
This sandstone lion looks Khmer in origin to me and may've come from the nearby prasat at Heuan Hin
Another guardian figure with a cheeky grin and fancy clothing
Some of the hundreds of Buddhas lined up in the surrounding cloisters
Detail from a doorway at That Ing Hang


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