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Photographer's Note

Monks gather to worship the Buddha statue in Luang Prabang, Laos, prior to openining festivities of the annual Lao New Year celebration.

Each wat is unique, but they all conform to a basic traditional design. Separated from the secular world by an outer wall, wats encompass an entire compound, complete with monk's quarters, a bell tower, relic chambers, and an ordination hall, or "sim." Larger wats can include schools, a library of sacred texts, and administrative buildings.

The most important building, the sim, is built on holy ground, with its walls separating what's inside from the profane.

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Additional Photos by John Brown (zips) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 409 W: 6 N: 508] (1958)
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