|Ta Mon pagoda in Soc Trang province (photo: Ngoc Anh)
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 and also include molded cement motifs and painting.
The pagoda’s huge gate has one entrance with three miniature towers on top, typical of Theravada Buddhist architecture. On both sides of the gate are intricate images of Naga snakes painted in red and gold. In the front yard there is a 20‑meter high statue of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Anyone entering the pagoda is overwhelmed by the beauty of the main hall which is as magnificent as a palace. Every space in the chamber is decorated with beautiful patterns and animal images. On top of each column is a statue of the bird god, Krud, which is half‑bird and half‑human or sometimes a fairy. Along the corridor are many columns with statues ofKrud god‑birds with their arms outstretching to support the roof.
|The main gate of Ta Mon pagoda (photo: Ngoc Anh)
Venerable Tran Van Tha, abbot of Ta Mon pagoda, said: “The main hall was rebuilt 5 times on an area of 999 square meters, presenting an ancient yet modern architectural style. We keep the old architectural patterns and motifs and build an underground floor for massive activities. In front of the main hall, there are two pine trees for beauty and coolness. A 22‑meter tall concrete statue of Shakyamuni Buddha was completed last year. On both sides are the Buddha’s disciples.”
Ta Mon Pagoda was built on an area of about 3 hectares, which was the land of Mr. Tà Mơn and Mrs. Thị Tây. To thank the land donors, the local people named the pagoda Tamon or Mr. Mon pagoda.
Monk Lam Diepsays: “The pagoda was built in 1615 and has had 27 abbots. The first abbot was Kong Kod, the younger brother of Ta Mon. The statue of Mr. Ta Mon, the land donor, stands in the main hall with 2 disciples standing on each side. The main hall was upgraded and inaugurated early this year. The monk’s house is also being rebuilt with 3 stories, which is used to organize traditional Buddhist and Khmer ceremonies. At the center of the pagoda there is a Shakyamuni Buddha statue.”
|Shakyamuni Buddha statue at Ta Mon pagoda (photo: Ngoc Anh)
Do Thi Lan Anh, a tourist from Hanoi, said: “Ta Mon pagoda is very impressive and majestic. It is as beautiful as many famous pagodas in Southeast Asian nations, such as Myanmar and Thailand. If I can return to Soc Trang, I’ll surely come back to Ta Mon Pagoda.”
Like other Theravada Buddhist pagodas, Ta Mon pagoda opens free classes for children during the summer vacation. The monks teach them to read and write the Khmer language as well as personality, morality, and filial piety.
With a history of more than 400 years, Ta Mon pagoda is a frequent venue for local people and an attractive destination for tourists to Soc Trang province.Besides sightseeing visitors can learn more about the Khmer culture and customs.