Nestling dormant at the southern tip of Laos lies the ancient temple Wat Po Champasak. Having long since passed into the passages of history, this sprawling sentinel became a guardian of historic yore, a remnant of a bygone age as time inexorably melted away.
Unlike the powerhouses of its neighbours – Wat Po in Bangkok, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat or the Javanese stupas of Borobudur – here is a megalith left to the ravages of history. As the encroaching lichen carves its psychedelic swirl on the now-defunct halls and staircases, the husk of what once was retreats further from the light.
However, such is the throb of Wat Po’s residual energy that the pulse never totally extinguishes. Instead, it regroups and envelops its surroundings. To its rear lies a mountain and before it a plateau stretches into the horizon. The attitude is one of supplication: much like the adherents of yore, the countryside seems cowed, afraid to witness the temple directly.
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A unknowable limbic intelligence broods close to the surface, as of some great reptile observing an interloper in its territory. Visitors need not worry – the site has long since passed into static restfulness – but there remains the flicker of life, as inextinguishable as it is reborn with an agenda far beyond the kith and kin of mortal comprehension.