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Lonely Planet calls Xieng Khuan "a monument to one eccentric man's quite bizarre ambition," to unify the Buddhist and Hindu religions. This isn't unheard of, but the sculptures he had made to show this unified iconography are really, really weird. My personal favourite is the gigantic pumpkin, which contains three levels (hell, earth, and heaven) and is entered here:

Image ../2006.asiablog/20060105-VientianeXiengKhuanPumpkinEntrance.web.jpg, size 114066 b
Image #20060105-VientianeXiengKhuanPumpkinEntrance
Photo © 2008, Giles Orr 
Last modified: 2008-05-17 by giles