Monday

Journey of a Mystery Hunter to the Plain Of Jars

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.                        George A. Moore


Mysteries have always attracted me, and I run to the places where I find something strange. As a solo traveler, I like to visit various destinations that are often not preferred by most of the travelers. Once I heard about the Plain Of Jars, a different and weird place in Laos. I started to read books and tour journals regarding this place and gathered all the information. I finally made my mind to visit this location and to solve the mystery behind its origin.

Laos international airportMy only interest was to explore Plain of Jars. So, I did not want to waste much of the time in visiting other places of Laos. From the Laos international airport, my journey was towards Phonsavan. I stayed there for one day and the next morning a voyaged towards the destination. Before going to that location, I collected information from the local people and guides. The history of this place attracted me. I was so excited that I could not sleep the previous night in my hotel room. I spend my time reading various journals of historians and archeologists who have previously visited the place.

PhonsavanI traveled to that place by bus as I thought I could get the glimpse of the villages and nearby towns of Phonsavan from the window of the bus.
Phonsavan travelThere were many travelers with me in bus. I was so over-whelmed that I spend the entire time in a bus taking pictures of the surroundings and discussing and sharing my views regarding the formation of the Jars.

tourists of jarAfter getting down from the bus, I walked with other tourists and finally reached the most awaited location, Plain of Jars. tourists of jar2This destination combines both ancient and contemporary culture that reveals the history of Phuan, Hmong and Tai dam dynasties.

History behind the Plain Of Jars


I had heard many stories about the formation of these jars when I visited this place from the local guides. I want to share some of the local beliefs and legends with all the readers. Laos’s legendary stories tell that a race of giants once inhabited this area. The king, Khun Cheung fought a victorious battle against his enemies. He created these jars to ferment and store huge amounts of rice. According to this legend, these jars were made to store the rice wine, and the local people used to celebrate the king’s victory by drinking the wine.

©2005/Jerry RedfernAnother local legend is that these huge stone jars were constructed to store the monsoon water for the nomads who can drink water. Some of the archeologists have found artifacts and beads inside these jars. The local people believe that the nomads offered those beads to pray to God for rain. Later researches in the early 1930’s have explained that these stone jars made for burial practices. Many excavations of Japanese and Lao archeologists in the recent years have supported this explanation. According to them, this place is one of the dangerous and mysterious sites in the world. The history of this place is dates back to the Iron Age.

These jars have the potential to throw light on the relationship between the complex modern societies and megalithic stone structures and provide the glimpse of the social organization of the Iron Age.

My Exploration of This Place


Phonsavan33There are about 90 archeological sites in the entire area. Most of the jars are suitable for taking pictures. I came across some of the sites that were excavated very recently and animal dead bodies, skeletons, and jewelries are found inside the jars. I walked the entire place with other travelers and examined every Jar. Each jar varies in shape and size. Some are massive whereas some are very small.  I climbed up to the top of one big jar with lid. I took some of the pictures of the surrounding sites and with other travelers. I hiked from one site to another and felt the real mystery. Seriously, if anyone visits this place at night, it will surely be a dangerous experience. I felt goose bumps in my body while hoping from one jar to another. Evening came down, and my heart sank a little. I have to return to Phonsavan.

My next few days spend by visiting some of the other popular landmarks of Phonsavan. After ten-day trip, I came back to my homeland. Still my heart longs for tours to Laos and mainly the Plain of Jars. It was a strange place indeed.

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