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Vat May Souvannaphoumaram

Beside the palace, Vat May Souvannaphoumaram is another architectural master piece of Lao Buddhist monasteries in Luang Prabang. It used to be the formal residence of the Lao patriarch. It was built in 1796 at the behest of King Anourouth.

vmsVat May means the temple which is newly built.

Its charm may lie on the unique four-tier roof which extends to cover up the eastern and western verandas.

The major renovations came in two occasions, one in 1943 and the other in 1962. Most of the work involved the decoration of the bas-relief mural in the front of the “sim” (ordination hall). The mural depicts the episodes from the Vessantara - the last reincarnation of the Lord Buddha, and the livelihood of residents of Luang Prabang.

This temple held the Phra Bang Buddha statue from 1894 to 1947.

Phra Bang Buddha image is still brought out from the National Museum and placed in a special pavilion in front of Vat May “sim” for public bathing after the Lao New Year celebrations in April.

Two long traditional racing boats/pirogues are stored under a roofed shed behind the main “sim”, they are still used in the annual local boat racing festival every August.