The Plain of Jars, Laos

The Plain of Jars, Laos

If you think that Stonehenge is a mystery, check out the Plain of Jars in Laos. This is simply another architectonical mystery itself.  The Plain of Jars is a collection of thousands of rock jars that were cut around 2,000 years ago. Nobody knows the purpose of the jars. In fact, if you happen to visit, you will see a bunch of jar-like structures carved from stones. 

They offer the advantage of being able to look inside. What you will see is spider webs, bird feathers, and algae from rainwater. If you were expecting to see some treasure in them, you will probably leave disappointed.  But then, that is the beauty of it.  There is a mystery, something inexplicable that refuses interpretation of reason.

Description

The Plain of Jars is a megalithic archaeological site located in Laos.   It is formed by thousands of jars spread all around the lower valley and upper hills of the Xiangkhoang Plateau.  The landscape is filled with green mountains, rivers, caves, and waterfalls.   The jars are grouped in clusters that range from one to several hundred. 

There are more than 90 sites in the Xinangkhouand Province; each one has from one to 400 jars in them. Although they are all hewn from rock, their diameters vary from 1 m to 3 m. The bottom of the jars is always wider than the top.  None of the jars are decorated, except for one located at Site 1.

The way the jars look suggests they all had lids.  In fact, a few jars were discovered with lids on them. 

History

Legends in Laos tell stories about giants that used to live in the area and they were ruled by a king named Khun Cheung. This king had all the jars carved to celebrate victory over his enemies by making lau hai (rice beer or rice wine) in the jars.  

Another theory is that the jars were used to collect monsoon water for travelers at times when rain was not frequent. Rainwater would then be boiled to make it safe to drink.  

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