Exploring Khleang Pagoda in Soc Trang Province Vietnam
Soc Trang, the coastal province of the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam, has many well-known pagodas, such as Doi, Dat Set, Vang, Bon Mat and Khleang pagodas, which are not only holy places of worship but also tourism destinations.
Khleang Pagoda, also called Chen Kieu (Bowl) Pagoda, is located at Dai Tam Commune, My Xuyen District, near the National Highway 1A.
The most prominent feature of this pagoda is that it is covered with a layer of stylishly designed bowls and plates of different colors, some of which are still intact although most are broken, inlayed in the roofs and the pillars of the pagoda.
According to the pagoda’s master priest, Khleang Pagoda was built in 1815 with nipa leaves in an area named Sa Lon Vietnam. In 1969, it was rebuilt and the craftsmen used the broken bowls and plates to decorate the pagoda.
At first they intended to decorate only the back of the pagoda, but they were so pleased with the results that they decided to inlay the whole pagoda with bowls and plates donated from the Buddhists near and far.
The pagoda is built with a spiritual significance. The edges of each roof are decorated with patterns and traditional statues of Khmer culture to inspire peace of mind and salvation. The curvy design of the top roof also bears symbols of freedom. The three alternate roofs resemble a big carpet with different colors.
The sanctum of the pagoda has 16 pillars carved with images of the legends of Khmer culture, and the two walls are carved with pictures telling the story of Buddha from the day he was born till the time he reached the peak of the Way.
Chen Kieu Pagoda is also carved with beautiful patterns of the image of the God Haloman, the Goddess of hawks, lion statues and more in an area of green, ancient trees contributing to the tranquil beauty of the pagoda.
The pagoda’s altar has 20 Buddhist statues in different positions and its library has a collection of Buddhism scriptures written on palm leaves, some new and some dating back hundreds of years.
Tourists visiting the Chen Kieu Pagoda can contemplate not only the unique architectural construction of Khmer people but also this collection.
In the residence of the pagoda there is a set of chairs and bed made from ebony wood, donated by the family of Cong Tu Bac Lieu (Bac Lieu Dude is the son of one of the richest families in Bac Lieu Province in the first years of the 20th century).
Exploring Khleang Pagoda in Soc Trang Province Vietnam (12/05/07)
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