We arrived at Wat Lao Buddhavong on Thursday evening, the first thing I noticed right away are the beautiful Phraya Nak or Nagas on the rooftop, as a Buddhist myself, I was brought up to believe that Naga is the protector of the lord Buddha, and these are definitely protector of Wat Lao Buddhavong.
- Lao Damnern Sai
According to wikipedia, the legend of the Naga is a strong and sacred belief held by Lao and Thai people living along the Mekong River. Many pay their respects to the river because they believe the Naga still rule in it, and locals hold an annual sacrifice for the Naga. Each ceremony depends on how an individual village earns its living from the Mekong River, for instance, through fishing or transport. Local residents believe that the Naga can protect them from danger, so they are likely to make a sacrifice to Naga before taking a boat trip along the Mekong River.
Traditions about Nagas are also very common in all the Buddhist countries of Asia. In many countries, the Naga concept has been merged with local traditions of large and intelligent serpents or dragons. In Tibet, the Naga was equated with the klu (pronounced lu), spirits that dwell in lakes or underground streams and guard treasure. In China, the Naga was equated with the long or Chinese dragon.
The Buddhist Naga generally has the form of a large cobra-like snake, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the Nagas are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves into a human semblance.
This video’s description: On January 5, 2008, the Buddhist congregation in Northern Virginia celebrated the birthday of its principal monk by placing a dragon on the temple.