That Dam (Black Stupa) in Vientiane

Vientiane Attractions

That Dam, or black stupa, is located on a quiet roundabout not far from Talat Sao (the morning market) and the American Embassy. That in Laotian refers to an inverted bell shape (or unopened lotus flower) structure that usually contains relics of the Buddha.

Legend has it that a seven-headed water serpent – a ‘Naga’ lived here to protect the stupa that was once covered in pure gold. During the Siamese-Laotian war in the 1820s, the gold was pillaged and taken to Siam, now Thailand, leaving the legacy that is the black stupa today.


That Dam (Black Stupa)

Known as the ‘Black Stupa', many locals believe this mythological structure was once inhabited by a seven-headed dragon (now dormant) that stood to protect the city from the threat of the Siamese. Another tale that does the rounds says that the gold that once graced the surface was taken when the Siamese army ransacked Vientiane back in 1828.

As if to serve as a memorial to that terrible act, the crumbling and weather-worn That Dam stands forlorn, neglected and un-loved. There are no glittering embellishments typical of similar establishments in neighbouring Southeast Asian countries; no worshippers come here to pray.

Nevertheless, the Lao still regard That Dam as the city’s guardian spirit. Legend, folklore, and history all combine to make this structure a curious and charming place to visit. It makes a change from most religious sites in nearby Thailand, for example, where stupas and temples are endlessly renovated and rebuilt, and history, at best, is lost and buried deep within them.

Location: Chantha Khoumane Road, Vientiane

 

Related Pages

That Dam Wine House

That Dam Wine House is a romantic restaurant in Vientiane that strikes a great balance between an attractive setting and reasonable prices.

  Read More...

 
Wat Ho Phra Keo Wat Ho Phra Keo

Vientiane boasts several beautiful temples or wats, but one of the most impressive and interesting of them is Wat Ho Phra Keo. It was originally constructed in 1565 as the Lao royal family’s personal chapel. Read More...

Hotels in Vientiane
Loading...

LOCATION :  
HOTEL :  
CHECK IN : CHECK OUT : FOR : NIGHT(S)
IN : Loading...  

Send us your feedback

Help us keep this website up-to-date by sending us your comments and suggestions. If your question is about a hotel please use this link - For TOUR questions and enquiries please use this link


Hotel Quick Finder

City:
Check In:
Check Out:
in:
Loading...
Vientiane Attractions
Hotels Tours Maps Forum
in
in Loading... out