The important temple of Vat Souvannakhili lies in the heart of Luang Prabang's historic Peninsula in close proximity to Vat Xiang Thong and Vat Pak Khan. It holds a special place in the pantheon of Luang Prabang's Buddhism, largely due to the revered monk Pha Khamfan Silasangvaro, an intellectual, writer, artist and architect who was Abbot of Vat Khili from 1931 until his death in 1987.
Today the temple hosts the Buddhist Archives of Luang Prabang in the imposing two storey Sala Thammaviharn; a memorial exhibition to Pha Khamfan on display in the charming traditional library building; an historic manuscript storage chapel and an important exhibition on Meditation in Luang Prabang.
The Sim, or chapel, was restored in 2005 by the Japanese architect Yushi Kawaguchi under the aegis of the UNESCO World Heritage office, and the roof structure of the living quarters of the novices was replaced through a private initiative in 2010.
By the end of 2013 however it was clear that the expanding research and archival works of the Buddhist Archives mandated an urgent need for renovation of the Sala Thammaviharn and several other storage and work spaces.
Thanks to the Badur Foundation of London, the U.S. Ambassadors' Fund for Cultural Preservation and a number of private donors, extensive restorations were carried out in 2014 and 2015, providing secure functional spaces for the Archive and adequate cabinetry, shelving and storage. Additional sanitary facilities for the novices were also included in these works, as was a complete refurbishment of the temple grounds and landscaping.
Please scroll through the images below to see the results of the Vat Khili restoration.