Built in 1818, Wat Sisaket is one of the newest of the grand temples in the city of Vientiane, Laos. The temple was built by the order of King Anouvong, who could also trace his roots back to the area of Bangkok. It is because of this that Wat Sisaket was built very much within the Siamese style of Buddhist architecture. This can be found by the surrounding terrace as well as an ornate five-tiered roof which has a much greater proximity to the way the temples were built in Siam that how they were built in Laos.
The truth of the matter is that this design played a significant role in keeping the temple structure safe. In 1827 invading Siamese armies sacked the city of Vientiane in response to a rebellion by the king. The entire city was destroyed, however this temple was left virtually unscathed. The belief is that it’s close proximity in design to that of the stymies Buddhist temples made the invading armies determine to leave the structure alone.
In fact, after the armies had invaded the temple compound became the headquarters and primary lodging area for the occupying forces. This was their headquarters for their area of operations until the French were able to expel the stymies Army from Laos in the 1840s.
In 1924, the French colonial government began a restoration project of Wat Sisaket. This continued until 1930 when the work was completed. Since then very little has been done to restore the temple and it still maintains much of his incredible grandeur.
As an important note, many temples actually outdate Wat Sisaket in terms of when they were originally built. However, this is the oldest standing temple in the country of Laos that did not need to be rebuilt. It is only undergone restoration but has never needed to be rebuilt.
What You Will Find in Wat Sisaket Today
Today, Wat Sisaket has been turned into a grand Museum area. Inside you will find incredible cloister wall that has over 6,800 ceramic and silver Buddha images. These tiny Buddha images are seated in fantastic roles by the hundreds, and date between the 16th and 19th century within Laos. These tiny statutes are constructed from wood, stone, bronze and other materials in our truly amazing and how beautiful and detailed the artwork is.
On the outside there is a fantastic drum tower, a small library building that has been constructed with the Burmese style roof, and the ordination hall is decorated with a fantastic flowered ceiling. This temple is located opposite to the presidential palace, and stands as a true reminder of the magnificent and dedicated work that was put to make this beautiful temple.
If you are an art enthusiast or a person who finds the Buddhist faith something to behold, then you will truly love this temple. It is open from 8 AM to 4 PM each day and the cost is but a few dollars to enter the temple complex area.