Wat Inpeng

If you visit the city of Vientiane, Laos, you will find that there are a large number of temples, many of them which date back to the 16th century. Because of their longevity and ornate beauty most are highly visited by tourists because they present not only a beautiful work of art but also a look at the incredible history of Laos.

This is true for most of the temples but not for all of them. Wat Inpeng is an example of a temple that sees far less visitors come to this facility than many of the others the tourist visit. Its origin dates back to the 16th century, when the king ordered a series of temples to be built within Vientiane, the new home of his capital.

For over 150 years, Wat Inpeng stood as a great structure used for worship and as their home by Buddhist monks. In 1827 that came to an end. The king at the time rebelled against the occupying Siamese Army. As a result, that army destroyed the city, completely destroying the temple at the same time.

Over the years it has been rebuilt or renovated on several occasions. The most recent was by the French in the 1930s, who rebuilt the structure.

Wat Inpeng decoration inside

What Is Great about Wat Inpeng

One thing that makes Wat Inpeng different from many of its sister temples is that this is still an active temple with resident monks living in it. Many of the others have been turned into museums or other historical landmarks at this point, meaning that they are no longer used as worship buildings or as a residence for Buddhist monks. This is not true of Wat Inpeng.

Here, you access into the grounds to a very large and ornate gate with a green, seven-headed snake which is said to guard the temple. The Sam of this temple has a spectacular looking façade. It is decorated with wood carvings and mosaics that depict Buddha. You will also find a dhamma wheel as well as floral motifs in gold on a green background.

When you look up to the top of the Sam, you will notice the incredible ornamental array on top of its roof. Here you will find nine miniature pagodas each topped with multi-tiered parasols. It really is a spectacular work of art.

As you enter into the Sam you will find two small guardian lions who are tasked with guarding the entrance. In the side entrances you will see snakes called Nagas, which were believed to be protecting the Buddhist faith. It is both in Erie and a beautiful thing to look at.

While the Sam is a truly spectacular structure, there are other great things on the grounds you will find to enjoy. The three-story drum tower is a beautiful structure. Located next to it is a very slender, Golden covered stupa you also find one of the oldest structures in all of Wat Inpeng, which is the square stone Ho Trai. This is used to store the Tripitaka, which are ancient manuscripts of the Buddha teachings written on dried palm leaves.