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

Gorgeous Photography

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

Architectural Diagrams

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.

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.

Comparative Architecture

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

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.


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.

Preview Pages from The Golden Lands
Click to enlarge photos

“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

The first ever art historical survey focusing comprehensively on the Architecture of the Buddhist World