Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang province

Ngoc Anh
Chia sẻ
(VOVWORLD) - The Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang  is home to more than 200 pagodas of different ethnic groups, of which 92 are Khmer Theravada pagodas. The most typical Khmer pagodas are Doi (Bat), Kh’Leang, Som Rong, Chen Kieu, Ta Mon, and Prey Chop lineage.
Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang province  - ảnh 1Kh’Leang Pagoda in Soc Trang province. (Photo: Ngoc Anh)

Soc Trang City has two pagodas which are recognized as national artistic heritage sites. These are Bat Pagoda, also known as Ma Toc Pagoda and Kh’Leang Pagoda. 

The first is called Bat Pagoda because thousands of bats shelter on the pagoda’s perennial trees. Although other pagodas also have large gardens and a lot of trees, bats only reside at Ma Toc. They never eat fruit in the pagoda’s garden, but fly far away to find food during the day and return to sleep. 

Kh’Leang Pagoda bears strong Khmer architectural characteristics blending with some Vietnamese and Hoa decorative styles. There are a number of decorative patterns of the Kinh on the door of the main hall and Chinese images on the pillars such as carp, dragons, and Chinese characters. The imprints show the cultural confluence between the various ethnic groups in the province. 

Thach Thi Loan, a tour guide at the Khmer Culture Exhibition House in Soc Trang province, said, “Kh’Leang Pagoda is a model in construction and architecture. The pagoda is carved with sophistication and the overall construction is harmonious and proportionate. The pagoda has two stilt houses. One is being restored, and the other remains original. The main hall of the Kh’Leang Pagoda has very beautiful architecture with meticulously carved images of the holy Krust birds, Goddess Knorr statues, and Goddess birds.”

Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang province  - ảnh 2The Reclining Buddha at Som Rong pagoda. (Photo: Ngoc Anh)

Som Rong Pagoda in Soc Trang Province is as magnificent as a palace. It owns two mysterious rocks that appear to float on water. Venerable Ly Duc, Abbot of Som Rong Pagoda, brought the two rocks from Cambodia in 2018. 

Prominent in the pagoda’s yard is a reclining statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. The 63-meter-long, 23-meter-tall statue weighs 490 tons and reclines on a platform 28 meters above the ground. The pagoda is also known as the SocTrang Reclining Buddha Pagoda. 

“I’ve never seen such a big Buddha statue. The pagoda is ancient and magnificent. If I get another chance, I’ll bring my family to this temple again. I've been to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, but this pagoda has some unique features,” said Tran Van An, a tourist from Thanh Hoa province.

Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang province  - ảnh 3Ta Mon pagoda. (Photo: Ngoc Anh)

Serey Tamon, also called Ta Mon Pagoda, is located in Vien Binh commune. From a bird’s‑eye‑view, Ta Mon pagoda’s typical Khmer architecture and external decorations are covered in a brilliant golden color. Every pillar, door frame, roof top, in fact, every part of the pagoda is carefully carved and painted. Diverse decorative patterns combine engraving and embossing on wood and stone also include molded cement motifs and painting.

Chen Kieu Pagoda (Sro Lon Pagoda in Khmer language) is another famous pagoda in Soc Trang. Built in 1815, the pagoda features typical Khmer architecture and decorations with cups, bowls, and dishes on the walls and towers, creating an impressive work of art.

The pagoda has an exhibition room displaying some assets of Tran Trinh Huy, nicknamed Cong Tu Bac Lieu, which translates loosely as the “Prince of Bac Lieu”. Born in 1900 and passing away in 1973, Huy was a famous, rich man in the South in the early 20th century. Among the assets, the most impressive items are a set of wood couches with a table, the summer bed made of marble, and the winter bed made of sandalwood. 

Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang province  - ảnh 4Chen Kieu pagoda. (Photo: Ngoc Anh)

“I’ve been to Chen Kieu pagoda three imes. Each time, I have a different feeling. All the pagodasin Soc Trangfeature typical Khmer characteristics from the architectural, carvings, and paintings. Other pagodas like Bat, Kh’leng, and Som Rong pagodas are also special. They are ideal places to learn about the life of the Khmer,” said Ngo Huu Loi, a tourist from Binh Duong Province.

Prey Chop Pagoda in Vinh Chau town is one of the most beautiful pagodas in Soc Trang. Tang Hum, an advisor to Prey Chop Pagoda’s management board, said, “The pagoda has Khmer Theravada Buddhist architecture. This spiritual destination attracts many tourists every year, especially at the Sen Dolta ceremony, and the Buddha’s robes offering ceremony. Many visitors come from other countries such as the US and New Zealand.”

Soc Trang has the second largest number of Khmer pagodas in Vietnam (92 pagodas) after Tra Vinh province (143 pagodas). Khmer Theravada Buddhist pagodas in Soc Trang and the Southern region are religious places as well as valuable architectural buildings imbued with Khmer culture.