Pak Ou Buddha caves
The caves is near in Luang Prabang
The photogenic caves are noted for their miniature Buddha sculptures. Thousands of very small (1-2 meters) and mostly damaged wooden Buddhist figures are laid out over the wall shelves. But also emerald, resin and stone Buddha images can be found in the caves. They take many different positions, including meditation, teaching, peace, rain, and reclining (nirvana). The Buddha images have a really great religious importance and are coated with red or black lacquer and sometimes even gold leaf.
The Pak Ou Caves is located at 25 km to the north of Luang Prabang Laos. The Caves are opposite of the Ou River and Pak Ou village, where the Ou River joins the Mekong River.
There are two caves, Tham Ting and the Tham Theung both of them are natural caves, they can be reached by a steep path which winds up the solid rock.
Originally the temples were dedicated to the spirits of the river. In the 15th century they were converted into Buddhist temples.
The king of Luang Prabang would visit and perform the washing ceremony at Laos New Year; the Buddha’s were washed in a long, highly decorated wooden vessel in the shape of a dragon (‘naga’). In the upper chamber this can be seen. The last king of Luang Prabang was deposed in 1975, after the communist revolution.
Nowadays, the head of the monks visits the caves at Laos New Year and then people are allowed to add more Buddha images to the caves. This means that the amount of Buddha images increases each year! On the other hand, termites eat a fair share of Buddha images as well every year.