Luang Prabang, Laos ~ c. 1560
The Wat Xieng Thong is one of the oldest temples in Laos. King Setthathirat, who was the ruler of Laos from 1548-1571, constructed it around 1560. The temple is located at the junction of the Mekong river and Nam Khan.
There are many beliefs surrounding the temple. Many believe that the two flowing rivers represent the union of two nagas. Nagas are guardian spirits in the form of waters snakes. Another belief is that itís a site where two hermits place boundary stones making Luang Prabang settlement. Another is the legend surrounding Chanthapanit, who was a merchant. It was believed that he found the palace and became first king of Luang Prabang. Kings were crowned here in magnificent ceremonies. In 1960, the temple was completely restored with new material from famous craftsmen in Laos. The temple was decorated with paintings, and glass designs with passages from the Ramayana.