Wat Phu - Remote ruins older than Angkor (28 May)
Interesting Facts about Wat Phu
MORE THAN 200 MILES (322 KM) northeast of Angkor in southern Laos, a remote Khmer outpost sits in an entirely different kind of landscape. The sleepy, lesser known remnants of Wat Phu rest in patchy fields grazed by water buffalo. These temple ruins contain foundations and structures that predate Angkor Wat by several centuries.
Yet, Angkor’s Khmer stylings are recognizable at Wat Phu, which was originally Hindu, and later converted to a Buddhist temple. A lingam-lined walking path bisects two rectangular pools, and massive sandstone bricks are strewn in a debris field around two weather-battered, roofless 11th- to 13th-century sandstone palaces. Tiers of steep, uneven stairs culminate at a sacred sanctuary atop a 330-foot (100 m) promontory. There, dancing apsaras line the entrance to a Buddhist temple.
The entrance to the temple complex is off a dusty road beyond the tiny town of Champasak, with French colonial buildings; it was home to regional kings until the 1940s. Near the ticket office, a brightly lit single-room museum protects and interprets recovered sculptures and architectural remnants from the area.