Vat Phou or Wat Phu is a ruined Khmer Hindu temple complex in southern Laos. It is located at the base of mount Phu Kao, some 6 km from the Mekong river in Champasak province. There was a temple on the site as early as the 5th century, but the surviving structures date from the 11th to 13th centuries. The temple has a unique structure, in which the elements lead to a shrine where a linga dedicated to Lord Shiva was bathed in water from a mountain spring. The site later became a centre of Theravada Buddhist worship, which it remains today. Wat Phou was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 14, 2001. It is the second such site in Laos. The temple complex, built in the Khmer style, overlooks the Mekong River and was an important Hindu temple in the Khmer Empire.
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