Buddhism, Laos, Laos Trip, Travel

Hor Phra Keo, a Place That Once Housed the Emerald Buddha

Hor Phra Keo

I visited Hor Phra Keo on November 17, 2008.  It was previously the ancient temple, Hor Phra Keo was built in 1565 AD (2108 BE) by the great King Xaisetthathirath, the Lao Lanexang Kingdom (also known as Land of a million elephants) to house the Emerald Buddha 1556-1778.  It was once used as the King worship place, but sadly the Emerald Buddha, also known to the locals as Phra Keo was lost to the Siamese in 1828.  It is believed by Lao people living abroad that when things are back to normal, then the Emerald Buddha will once again return back to Laos.

Below is a photo of the Emerald Buddha by Claire Soleil at Flickr

The Emeral Buddha at Wat Phra Keo in Bangkok Thailand, photo by Claire Soleil
The Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Keo in Bangkok Thailand, photo by Claire Soleil

Hor Phra Keo was reconstructed in 1936, and since the 1970’s, the temple has not been used for a place of worship but rather has been converted into a museum, which contains the collection of the Ancient materials, such as the finest examples of Buddhist sculpture and artifacts in Laos.  There is no picture of the inside because picture taking is not allowed.

Hor Phra Keo

Hor Phra Keo

Hor Phra Keo

Hor Phra Keo

What I find fascinating are these Buddha statues, they seems to be missing something.  Some Buddha statues have rounded heads, commonly seen in Japan and some have pointy-heads, which is something that the Lao and Thai people are familiar with, and one of the monks at my temple once explained to me that the pointy-head symbolizes bright, or smart (houw lam).  So, as I was looking at these Buddha statues, they’re missing the pointy head, and to me, it appears as if they were taken or cut off.  I’m thinking that it might have been made out of gold, and when the Siamese took the Emerald Buddha, they might have also removed and took the golden tip of these Buddha statues as well, but this is just my speculation. I’m wondering what you thoughts are on this.

Hor Phra Keo

Buddha Statues

Buddha Statue

Buddha Statue

Buddha Statue

Buddha Statue

Buddha Statue

More photos…

old bucket turtle

Phrayanark or Naga

Phrayanark or Naga

Hor Phra Keo

Hor Phra Keo

old Buddha statue

Guardian Statue

Buddha Statue

Buddha Statue

This might be the closest to me when it comes to seeing the Plain of Jars.

Stone Jar

Stone Jar

Hor Phra Keo

A beautiful courtyard.

Hor Phra Keo Courtyard

Hor Phra Keo

10 thoughts on “Hor Phra Keo, a Place That Once Housed the Emerald Buddha”

  1. Beautiful, thorough and very observant. Two thumbs up!

    Seiji may be correct: “Hmm, I think someone has a promising career as a travel photographer.”

    The turtle reminded me of another Lao-mythology told by my grandmother 30+ years ago. Or was that a snail instead of a turtle? Hmm, how the memories fade…Got to ask mom. Thanks again.

  2. Beautiful!!! I have to make sure I’ll visit these temples one day if I ever go to laos. So very very beautiful!

  3. Nye wrote, “as I was looking at these Buddha statues, they’re missing the pointy head, and to me, it appears as if they were taken or cut off.” I agree!

    Your travel photos are beautiful. You are giving the Lao tourism board great PR (public relations) here. They should send you a huge tropical fruit basket 🙂

  4. PaNoy, lady0fdarkness, mozemoua and Salat, thanks for such nice comment. I was worried whilst I was in Laos that I might not have enough photos to share, but I’m glad most turn out pretty good.

    Salat, maybe next time I might get a discount deal if I were to book with a tour. 🙂

  5. Hey, Ginger. I was surprised to see my photo on your site although you did credit me for it. Could you provide a link back to my Flickr page? Though not a substitute for permission, it’s always good netiquette to link back to the source. Thanks!

  6. Hi Claire, thanks for not asking me to remove your photo, it’d be very difficult for me to find one as good as yours. I did link back as asked, and thanks again. 🙂

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