The Black Stupa

That Dam (pronounced Tat Dam) is an old weather-beaten stupa located near the centre of Vientiane. There are many rumours surrounding this rather forlorn looking object. Some suggest that it was once adorned completely in gold that was stolen by the Siamese during the ransacking of Vientiane in 1828. Others suggest that it houses a seven-headed naga (dragon serpent) that protects the city, but must have been asleep in 1828 😉

There is not much information available about this ancient relic. According to the sign in the photo the department of electricity maintains the grounds around the stupa but, as you can see, unchecked vegetation sprouts from cracks all over the monument itself. No one comes here to pray and the only visitors appear to be tourists who stumble upon it either by accident or good fortune.

And so it stands relatively unloved, in the middle of a quiet little roundabout near the old American Embassy, waiting patiently to unleash the naga should Vientiane once again require its assistance.

That Dam, The Black Stupa
That Dam, The Black Stupa

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