The Golden Lands:
Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, & Vietnam

The Sim of Luang Prabang

Gorgeous Photography

The photographs of The Golden Lands will draw you into the wonder of the architecture and inspire you to visit - or revisit - the sacred sites of these six very different countries.

Architectural diagram of the temple of Borobudur from the Golden Lands book

Architectural Diagrams

Countless hours of painstaking surveying and digital modelling have gone into producing over 100 never-before-seen detailed 3D CAD models of Buddhist architecture.

Timeline of Buddhist architecture from the Golden Lands Book

Rigorous Historical Analysis

Vikram Lall's text provides a detailed narrative of the development of architectural styles and techniques within the context of the fascinating history of the region.

Comparison of Khmer and Thai Buddhist architectural styles from The Golden Lands book

Comparative Architecture

Many side-by-side comparative illustrations and detailed explanations help the reader recognize characteristic architectural styles.

Overgrown temples at Angkor, Cambodia

Wide Range of Sites

In many cases, the research team went off the beaten trail to photograph and survey lesser-known masterpieces essential to tracing the development of Buddhist architecture.

Laos map from the Golden Lands book


The book contains maps locating the key Buddhist sites in each country, as well as plans of larger complexes showing the position of the many temples within.

Vikram Lall

About the Author

Vikram Lall is an award-winning architect, lecturer, author, and patron of art & culture. He has more than 25 years of experience in architectural practice and consultancy and is the principal architect and partner of Lall & Associates. The present series of books represents the summation of his twenty-five years of intensive research into Buddhist architecture.
Read more about Vikram Lall here

Preview Pages from The Golden Lands Click to enlarge photos

The Golden Lands example page showing a large seated Buddha in Pahto-thamya in Myanmar The Golden Lands example page showing the Sulamani Temple in Bagan The Golden Lands example page showing the pages about the Shwezigon Pagoda The Golden Lands example page showing the One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi The Golden Lands example page showing a row of golden Buddha statues in Wat Suthat, Thailand The Golden Lands example page showing the pages about Wat Arun, Bangkok The Golden Lands example page showing Tat Luang in Vientiane and other architectural examples nearby The Golden Lands example page showing the glossary of SE Asian Buddhist architecture The Golden Lands example page showing the endpapers with the author photograph and editorial contact details
There is a fascinating relationship between Buddhist thought and its manifestation in the physical world. Vikram Lall looks at the spiritual world of Buddhism through the observant eyes of a designer, and illuminates the wide-ranging ritual origins of Buddhist architecture. –Christopher Choa (London) Architect/Urban Designer
“This book is fresh, relevant and important and will be an indispensable addition for all libraries and museums.” –Ronald G. Knapp (New York) Author of "China's Living Houses: Folk beliefs, Symbols and Household Ornamentation" and "Chinese Bridges"
“This concise study of architecture as a product of Buddhist philosophy, having its origin in India, and transforming into a pan-Asian phenomenon is extremely relevant in our understanding of architectural cultures of the world.” –Prof. Nalini Thakur (New Delhi) Former HOD, Dept. of Conservation, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi Conservation Architect, Scholar and Historian

Photography from The Golden Lands Click to enlarge photos

Photography from The Golden Lands Photography from The Golden Lands - Shwesandaw Pagoda, Bagan Photography from The Golden Lands - Shwezigon Pagoda, nr Bagan Photography from The Golden Lands - Hsinbyume Pagoda, Bagan Photography from The Golden Lands - Buddha statue on the top terrace of Borobudur Temple Photography from The Golden Lands - the golden stupa of Pha That Luang in Vientiane Photography from The Golden Lands - the One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi Photography from The Golden Lands - richly decorated doorway at Wat Mahathat in Luang Prabang Photography from The Golden Lands - golden decoration at Wat Mai in Luang Prabang Photography from The Golden Lands - Wat Arun, Bangkok
“This book has indeed found a deserving home, not just for the discerning architect but also for the inspired traveller in this architectural journey, from the famous to the lesser-known architectural Buddhist wonders of Asia.” –Kai-Yin Lo (Hong Kong), art historian, designer & author
“This pioneering study by Vikram Lall is a labour of love and passion reflecting an integral holistic vision of Buddhist architecture, clearly seen in the meticulously written text and illustrations.” –Dr. Subhash Chandra Malik (New Delhi), anthropologist, author & academic
“This outstanding work, illuminated by the architectural insights of Vikram Lall, who has personally seen the Buddhist monuments, sheds a new perspective on the history and culture of Southeast Asia.” –Dr. Sachchidanand Sahai (New Delhi), historian & national professor in epigraphy

Over the course of its 2,500-year history, Buddhism has found expression in countless architectural forms, from the great monastic complexes of ancient India to the fortifed dzongs of Bhutan, the rock-carved temple grottoes of China, the wooden shrines of Japan, and the colorful wats of Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Architecture of the Buddhist World, a projected six-volume series by the noted architect and scholar Vikram Lall, represents a new multi-disciplinary approach to this fascinating subject, showing how Buddhist thought and ritual have interacted with local traditions across the Asian continent to produce masterpieces of religious architecture.

The First volume in the series, The Golden Lands, is devoted to Southeast Asia, home to many of the most spectacular Buddhist monuments. Following a general introduction to the early history of Buddhism and its most characteristic architectural forms (the stupa, the temple, and the monastery), Lall examines the Buddhist architecture of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in turn. For each country, he provides both a historical overview and case studies of noteworthy structures. Lall's concise and accessible text is illustrated throughout with new color photography, as well as 3-D renderings from architectural models that make even the most complex structures easily comprehensible.

The monuments that Lall considers in The Golden Lands range from the modest Bupaya stupa in Bagan, Myanmar to the vast complex of Borobudur in Central Java, the world's largest Buddhist monument; his achievement is to place them all within a single panorama of history, religion, and artistic innovation.

Book Photo