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Home Laos Vientiane: A Visitor’s Guide ⇒ The City Pillar

Vientiane: A Visitor’s Guide

3The City Pillar & Wat Si Muang

Wat Si Muang houses the city pillar, the symbolic heart and soul of the city, and is very popular with people asking for favours. If their wish is granted they will return with offerings of fruit and flowers. Every town and city has one of these pillars which are stone posts with a rounded end set upright in a small depression. Ceremonies are performed around these pillars and people come to make wishes. This shows the the less well-known but very important influence of Brahmin culture.

Pha That Luang—The Great Stupa of Vientiane
Pha That Luang
The Great Stupa of Vientiane

Walk into the dark inner chamber of the sim with the city pillar high on the alter wrapped in scarves and flanked by large Buddha figures and you’ll be struck by the powerful atmosphere. There is a constant stream of people laying offerings in front of the altar. The monks in the outer chamber, tying sacred white thread around people’s wrists for protection, will tell you about the human sacrifice that is supposed to have taken place when the pillar was first installed.

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