Buddhism, Laos, Laos Trip, Travel

Wat Simuang and the Guardian of the City

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

We didn’t get to visit Wat Simuang the first time we were in Laos due to our short stay in Vientiane, and when we returned the second time, it fell on December 2, 2008, which was a Lao National Day, and many Lao local worshipers were there to worship.

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There are many varieties of flowers that you can buy right along side of the road as you’re approaching Wat Simuang.

flowers flowers
Wat Simuang is a sacred temple in Vientiane.  Inside, the sim is unusually divided into two rooms. The front room of the sim is where the monks perform blessing ceremony for worshipers, and the rear room houses the large main altar, which is crowded with Buddha

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

An interesting story is the history of Wat Simuang (Simuang means color of city.) At Wat Simuang, there are cemented giants, angels, and various Buddhist legendary statues for protection. According to the legend, in 1563 (Lao year: 2106) when Wat Simuang was built, there was a ceremony of digging a hole to place a pillar (Lukk) as the center of the city (Muang) and invited anyone that would sacrifice his/her life by jumping into the ditch, and take an important role of becoming the guardian of the city, as a ghost that will guard the pillar, no salary offered at the time.

Believe or not, the person who was braved enough to jump into the ditch was a lady by the name of Si (means color) and that is how Wat Simuang got its name. The history of Wat Simuang indicates the bravery of a Lao woman during that time, more so than Lao men in time of crisis. Of course this is just a legend, I’m wondering if there is another version of the history of Wat Simuang out there.

[Edited 12/31/08] I believed below photo is the home of  the Guardian of the city, also known as Jao Mae Simuang.  The City Pillar is wrapped in sacred colorful cloth.

City Pillar, home of Jao Mae Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

Wat Simuang

If I were the cat, I would look before I sleep, I wonder if s/he is having a bad dream.

Cat at Wat Simuang

9 thoughts on “Wat Simuang and the Guardian of the City”

  1. lady0fdarkness, we were lucky that we were there during the ceremony, there were 2 or 3 going on at the same time, and I like the photo of the young monk performing the ceremony best. This temple is very old, but very colorful, and it’s know for Jao Mae Simuang, and she is believed to be very powerful, and that’s why many Buddhist worshipers were there to pay respect.

  2. I’m glad you made it back to Vientiane to do the temple tour that you didn’t get to do it the first time around. Did you get to take pictures of the sala trees? I can’t tell from the photos which entrance you took but it looks like the main one where they had the Pasad Pheung Parade entered.

    That cat actually went outside on this day, must be too cold and needed the sun. When I was there he/she was napping inside the sim.

  3. Darly, I think it’d take at least a week to do a tour in Vientiane, but we only had a day here and there. I didn’t get to see the Sala tree, I walked around the temple 4 times and asked one of the monks but he didn’t know what I was talking about. We went through the main entrance I think, we could see venues along side of the road that sell Pasad Pheung almost a block away.

    I couldn’t wait for the BKK airport to open back up, our original flight would only fly out from that airport, and we had to book another flight from VTE, and again a very short stay, Vientiane is very big, and not having car or people to show you around is very difficult and can be costly.

  4. I know what you mean. I lived there for years and didn’t get to see much of the city. In fact aunt Phone who lived in Vientiane for 30 years didn’t even get a chance to go on top of Patouxay.

    Actually it would be cheaper to travel around without your relatives and a car because if you do things the Lao way you would pay for everything. Unless your relatives are rich, then they don’t mind paying for everything. Even then they don’t want to take their car on long distant trip like my aunt for example and we had to rend a van to go to Vang Vieng.

    If you know how to ride a motorbike, then this is the best way to get around Vientiane or Pakse because you can rent one for cheap and go on a day’s trip. That’s how many farangs that I know travel around. Taking the bus is also very economical. Many farangs I met on the bus found it reasonable.

    I found the best way to do anything is to go out on your own and do it because waiting on other people’s schedule is time consuming and when you want to do so much it can be frustrating. If you plan on going back to Laos then you can always go back. I met a British man at Kob Jai Der restaurant and he has been going to Laos in the last 30 years on an annual basis and there is always something for him to keep him coming back for more.

  5. Darly, I’ve never rode a motorbike before, perhaps bicycle might be more appropriate for me. I also like to take the Bus, it’s economical and the road condition in Laos is much better this day.

  6. It’s great that they make it so convenient to purchase the flowers and fruits for temple offerings. I like the marigolds and the water lily remind me of origami.

    My favorite picture, beside the one of the sleeping cat is the Golden Buddha with the Bodhi leaves above. Both very nice 🙂

  7. Salat, I think my dad got tired of walking and we came across a temple before this one, and he told me that it was Wat Simuang. I thought to myself, this couldn’t be it because all the flower vendors are a block away, so we kept on walking. I think when we got there, I got lucky, it was good timing that there were so many worshipers there.

    I took the picture of the cat for you, I knew you like cat. 🙂 I’m a dog person, but believe it or not, a dog chased me at one of the Wat, needless to say, I took off running.

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