Over 1,000 people attended the religious ceremony at the stupa yesterday for the raising of about 9-kg gold atop of the spire of That Luang, also known as the Great Stupa of Vientiane. President Bounnhang Vorachit was honoured to hit the gong to kick off the religious ceremony.
Pha That Luang, the iconic symbol of Vientiane Capital, is a huge golden stupa built in 1566, mandated by King Setthathirat.
“This is the fourth major renovation of Pha That Luang though other smaller renovations were recorded in 1819, 1930, 1976, 1993, and 1996,” said Mayor of Vientiane Capital Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune. The aim of the renovation is to conserve national heritage and the That Luang stupa, the national symbol and most significant monument for the people of Laos, he said.
“Once the stupa is fully renovated, Vientiane Capital will celebrate the 450th anniversary of That Luang from November 12-14,” Sinlavong said adding, “The event is the pride of the entire Lao people”. It is also among the top tourist attractions and features some of the oldest archaeology in Vientiane and the country.
It is a centre of religion and culture and teaches people about Laos’ ancient culture and history.
The intricate architecture and carvings also provide lessons about the stupa’s origins.
The renovation is estimated to cost about 15 billion kip (almost US$1.84 million). Currently, over 13 kg of gold and over 996 million kip have been donated for the renovation of the stupa by members of the public and the private sector.
The renovation committee has stated that the donations received are not yet enough to cover the cost of the renovation and that more donations are requested.
The 4th That Luang Renovation Project was launched in 2008 on the occasion of the celebration of the 450th anniversary of Vientiane as Laos’ capital city. However, due to a lack of financial resources, the renovation was delayed and little progress was made, but the corridors were rebuilt and the pavement of That Luang Square was resurfaced.
The event was also attended by Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Bosengkham Vongdara.
Source: Lao News Agency