60 Ancient Buddha Images Discovered in Khammouane


Adapted from Vientiane Times article by Siladda Souliyong

Local residents have found about 60 ancient Buddha images in Tham Phapheenoy Cave near Khamphalaeng Village in Khammouane province, which authorities estimate to be hundreds of years old.

An official at the Mahaxay District Information, Culture and Tourism Department, Kaikeo Bounmany, said the Buddha images were made of Mansonia gagie, a fragrant wood similar to sandalwood.

Mahaxay District authorities inspected the statues after receiving reports from local residents. Some of the figurines have deteriorated while about 45 are in reasonable condition.

“The statuettes will be examined by an archaeologist, and authorities will provide a detailed report on their findings,” Mr Kaikeo told the Vientiane Times.

Local residents told authorities they wanted to keep the Buddha images in the cave and turn it into a tourist attraction. They would charge visitors to see the statues, which would bring in extra revenue for the community.

“People here have found ancient Buddha images in the past. Most are kept in the place where they were discovered, so that people could go there to worship,” Mr Kaikeo said.

The discovery is adds to Khammouane’s list of cave attractions.

Its cave complexes such as Tham Nang Aen, Tham Pha Nha, Tham Pha, Konglor and Tham Xebangfai are among of the most distinct cave in Asia.

Sites such as Kamphengyak (The Giant Wall) and the Sangsou and Nam Sanam waterfalls also attract tourists.

Last year, more than 400,000 people visited the province, the provincial Information, Culture and Tourism Department reported.