Xieng Khouang and the Secrets of the Plains of Jars

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The stone jars buried foot patiently and quietly on the field. They are mysteriously co-exist here. Since when the ancient plains witnessed the birth and existence of the stone jars? Perennial stones still quietly hug and could not hide the truth. Life is only a brief moment, only the earth is forever alive.
From Vientiane travelling to the north along Highway 13 about 225 kilometers to the junction Phou Kuod (Mountain Kun), then go straight to Luang Prabang. We turn right into the path Xieng Khouang. Xieng Khouang is located in the northeast of Laos, a mountainous part of the terrain, its elevation is from 1,500 to 2,000m, so it has the cool climate all year round.

Phon-sa-van ( Phonesavanh drain) – the capital of Xieng Khouang province – from Vientiane about 435km in the  northeast. Xieng Khouang has an area of 15,880 km2 with a population of about 23,000 people. Xieng Khouang local people including Thai Dam (Black Thai), Mong (Lao Sung), Lao Lum and Vietnamese. Phou Koud junction with Lao Sung’s market, selling their homemade products like knives, hoes, shovels and products from crops like phắc Kat (vegetables), ignition (cement), even coin (tops chayote).

Xieng Khouang has Phu Bia peak with 2.820m height compared to the sea level. This is the highest peak of Laos. Trails winding through the rugged mountains and valleys. Two side untouched forests, water pouring down from high mountain scenery creating poetic grandeur. Most of the town, the town of Xieng Khouang was destroyed completely by American bombs during the war. The provincial capital of Xieng Khouang was rebuilt after 1975.

Xieng Khouang a field known for ‘chum’ fields (called Thong Hay  Hin in Laotian, the Plains of Jars in English). Jars are scattered throughout the territory of Xieng Khouang, focused in three key locations around Phôn-savanna. Location 1: Ban Ang. Location 2: Lat Sen. Location 3: Ban Sua, about 10km, 23km and 28km from Phon-xa-van representatively.

The period of the American war in Vietnam, where the jars field suffered the hottest bombs in Laos.  US Air Force continuously bombed Xieng Khouang in 10 years , in order to destroy the Pathet Lao and prevent the North’s logistical resupply to the South via the Ho Chi Minh trail. With the number 580 344 sorties, an average of 8 minutes / missions, 24 hours a day, from 1964 to 1973, the volume of US bomb sprayed this place enough for every citizen under 350 tons of bombs.

Plateau surface is like on the moon, artificial lakes scattered with different sizes. Today, each year there are still about 50 people were killed or become injured by this unexploded bombs.

So bombing has become a familiar “commodity” to people here. In our hotel we stay calmly took the ashtray made of bi bombshell: the guava, pineapple gold, silver. Even bombshell tonnes B52 bomb also be used as building materials Construction and decorative objects in each house, garden here.

Ban Ang is about 10km from the southwest of Phôn-savanna way attracting the most tourists . This place is situated on a hill with an elevation of 1,000 meters, its vegetation is sparse. An open space for parking and where the ticket and souvenir. Entrance up the stairs made of rocks and concrete. Climbing through the final steps: a field out front chum. I walked hurriedly, so that was an eye, a hand touching the stone jars legend!

Chum stood scattered in groups, small to high low variety, different shapes. Standing between sun exposure group, the group hiding in the green canopy. What stood, the tilt, the sink half. At this location there are only 1 250 jars and the lids.

Today on the plateau of green grass field, it is peaceful. On flat land interspersed a few hills scattered around more than 650 pieces of stone jars from giant 1-3,5m height and diameter of around 1 meter. The weighing more than 14 tons with dating around 2,500 years to 3,000 years. Another mystery is the mountain at least decades ago kilometers, so ancient people of the jars crafted from natural rocks from nowhere and moved there in any way?

A further mystery is not to be answered: what the jars were made for? There are also assumptions:

1. What are the huge jars made in the reign of the leader Khun program and used to store food, wine brewed soldiers.

2. All the jars used for the burial of kings, chieftains in that period. Position in higher socio greater jars. With time, a lot of jars make legendary jars field today.

Currently, archaeologists, field studies jars 2nd leaning more hypothetical. According to a French historian, she Madeleinen Colani, who arrived in 1930 jars fields researched, this giant of the jar is not brewed wine jar. Was the loss of perforated boulders do things just to incubate chum celebrating wine to make a jar takes little time and effort?

She hypothesizes each jar is a sarcophagus to bury the dead when discovered bone fragments, teeth of this giant of the jars and scattered around. Moreover, in a limestone near you Ang, she discovered a cave cross straight up a hill like chimneys, walls trace the smoky black and there is a cremation oven. Visiting the cave through the sky, he accompanied Laos said it served as shelter by Pathet Lao soldiers and volunteer soldiers during the Vietnam War. Due to time constraints and difficult road, we are not to be 2 places left. To the south, 1km from Xieng Khouang, on a hill with two commemorative monument was built in the traditional style of Laos: “Remember the heroic martyrs” and “Solidarity fought Laos – Vietnam “. Locals told us about memories paint glue, especially of the Pathet Lao soldiers and Vietnam were volunteers together side by side in two wars against the common enemy of both peoples Laos – Vietnam .

About 52km from the north of Phôn-savanna in Muong Kham district near Hua Phan province, there are two hot streams Ban Noi (small streams) and Ban Nhay (big stream) of which temperature is up to 60oC. A difference of Xieng Khouang than elsewhere in Laos is at the temples. Phiawt Temple was built in 1564 but the war has destroyed almost the whole. Xieng Khouang tourist attracts tourists by its pristine scenery, fresh and primitive natural.

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