Savannakhet Gears Up for That Inhang Festival

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The annual That Inhang stupa festival in Kaysone Phomvihane district, Savannakhet province, is ready to go ahead from December 10-14, local authorities have confirmed.

Kaysone Phomvihane district Governor, Mr Bounyou Thammavong, told Vientiane Times on December 1  For this year’s festival we focused on local cultural activities in the hope they will interest visitors and make them want to come back again.

During the afternoon of the official opening ceremony day on December 12, attendees can enjoy a cultural performance with over 10 programmes. I hope they will teach all visitors more about the lifestyle here in Savannakhet province.

During the five-day festival, the organising committee will hold a trade fair which will mainly exhibit products from the province’s 15 districts. Meanwhile, the provincial authority will also present the One District, One Product (ODOP) logo to three districts, namely Kaysone Phomvihane, Songkhon and Atsaphon, so they will be known as ODOP districts, he added.

According to the festival schedule, on the afternoon of December 13 thousands of devotees will take part in a wax castle procession around the stupa and on the morning of December 14 there will be a tak baat (alms giving) ceremony. This is a traditional ritual that is a highlight of the annual festival, allowing people to pay homage to the revered stupa.

According to tourismlaos.org, That Inghang is a sacred stupa and reportedly the burial site of one of Buddha’s bones. It is an important place for Buddhists and is registered as a National Treasure of Laos. It was built about 450 years ago during the reign of King Marukhanakhone to commemorate the Buddha’s visit to the site.

Buddha is believed to have delivered a sermon to people at the site and later took a rest under the Hang tree. This is the reason why the stupa is called That Inghang.

The That Inghang festival takes place every December. The stupa is located in That village, Kaysone Phomvihane district. The easiest way to get there is to head out along Route 9 for about 12km and turn left at the police post, and then drive straight for about another 3km and you will come directly to the stupa.

Women are required to wear a traditional sinh (long Lao skirt) to enter the site. These are available next to the entrance. Normally, on days other than the festival, the gate is open daily from 8am to 6pm.

Savannakhet province is situated in central Laos and is the largest province with about 21,774 square kilometres, bordered by Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the west, Khammuan province to the north and Saravan province to the south. About 60 percent of the land is covered by forests.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

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