Named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001, Wat Phu, meaning Mountain Temple, is located in the foothills of the Lingaparvata Mountain, now known as Phu Phasak. Sacred to at least three different cultures, the temple is believed to have been revered by the Champa Empire during the 5th–8th centuries. Most of the present edifices, however, are pre-Angkorian, built around the beginning of the 9th century. In more recent times, the Lao Buddhist kingdom of Lan Xang converted the Hindu temples into structures honoring their own faith.
Shiva Lingam Sanctuary
Located in the innermost part of the main temple, the Shiva lingam sanctuary now houses a large Buddha statue and several smaller icons. It is regularly visited by devotees with offerings.
This smaller pavilion, dedicated to the sacred bull Nandi, the mount of Shiva, stands close to the worship pavilion. The statue of Nandi, however, is now in the museum.
Two impressive pavilions, notable for their detailed bas-reliefs, are in the process of being restored. Experts believe that they served as separate worship facilities for men and women.