5 oldest temples in Saigon

Giac Lam Communal House, Hue Nghiem, Giac Vien ... are more than 200-year-old pagodas associated with the process of formation and development of Saigon - Gia Dinh land.

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Hue Nghiem Pagoda

Hue Nghiem Pagoda is located on Dang Van Bi Street (Thu Duc District). Today, the pagoda is often called Hue Nghiem 1 to distinguish it from Hue Nghiem 2 pagoda in District 2.

The pagoda was launched by Zen monk Thiet Thuy - Tanh Tuong (168 -1757) in the XVIII century. Many materials identified its founding year is 1721, Hue Nghiem is the oldest temple in Ho Chi Minh City today.
Panorama of Hue Nghiem Pagoda 1.
Panorama of Hue Nghiem Pagoda 1. Photo: PGVN
At first, the pagoda was built in low land, about 100 m from the existing temple. Then Nguyen Thi Hien (1763-1821) religious name of Lieu Dao, alias of Thanh Tam, donated the land to rebuild. The pagoda was restored many times, the largest was the late nineteenth century organized by Zen Master Dat Ly - Hue Luu.

Its architecture was changed in the 1960s, 1969, 1990 and 2003 renovations with overlapping tile roofs and sharp arches. The edge of the roofs decorated with stylized lotus flowers. The temple grounds are quite large, with many ancient towers. Three-door temple gate and Quan Am station in the front yard of the pagoda was built in 1990.

Giac Lam communal house

Located on Lac Long Quan street (Tan Binh district), Giac Lam (also known as Cam Son pagoda) was raised by hermit Ly Thuy Long, Minh Huong people, in 1744, the period of Lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat. This is the communal house of the Thien Lam Te Tong sect in the South, with the word Tam architecture consisting of three horizontal house blocks connected together: the main hall, the auditorium and the vegetarian hall.
Giac Lam communal house was recognized as a national cultural relic in 1988.
Giac Lam communal house was recognized as a national cultural relic in 1988. Photo: Huu Cong
The pagoda has a quite large campus, many trees cool and spacious, although there are still many people visit on a daily basis. Famous scholar Trinh Hoai Duc in book Gia Dinh citadel has described the temple scene at that time: "The pagoda is located on Cam Son mound, three miles west of Luy Ban Bich... the tree is as tall as the forest, the flower is blooming like brocade, from the morning till evening, the cloud and smoke floating around, the terrain is small but interesting! ".

In front of the pagoda, there is a Hexagonal Relic Stupa, the 7th floor of the temple worshiping Buddha relic. The temple yard has a statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva under the shadow of a Bodhi tree by Dai Duc Narada brought from Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka) to plant in 1953.

Today the temple is also a small museum that holds many beautifully carved sculptures. The pagoda has 113 ancient statues, most of them made of wood. The main columns in halls are carved with parallel sentences, overgilded elaborately.

Giac Vien pagoda

Also located on Lac Long Quan street but in District 11, Giac Vien pagoda history (also known as Ho Dat pagoda) is associated with Giac Lam communal house. The location of the pagoda is a place gathering wood to restore Giac Lam pagoda (in 1798), originally a small temple, then a few years later it was built into a pagoda.

The pagoda has many major renovations in 1899, 1908 and most recently the renovation of the Tay Lang project in 1991. The Giac Vien pagoda architecture consists of two adjacent four-pillar houses. The front houses first function the main hall, worshiping the ancestors; the back house is the lecture hall, the living room. On the sides, there are two rows of Dong Lang and Tay Lang connecting to the main house.
Giac Vien Pagoda was recognized by the Ministry of Culture as a national historical and cultural relic in 1993.
Giac Vien Pagoda was recognized by the Ministry of Culture as a national historical and cultural relic in 1993. Photo: Huu Cong
The pagoda has 153 large and small statues (mostly made of wood), 57 doors (of temples) painting in fresco and 60 reliefs bearing many characteristics of belief and religion, containing Vietnamese cultural and artistic values in the period late 18th century early 19.

Although the temple has been repaired for many years, the temple is currently severely damaged. HCM City People's Committee decided to spend 51 billion dong to restore this ancient temple.

Ba Thien Hau pagoda

Located on Nguyen Trai Street, Ba Thien Hau (also known as Ba Cho Lon Pagoda) is one of the oldest historical temples of Chinese people in Ho Chi Minh City, built from about 1760.

The pagoda is characterized by Chinese architecture, built in the form of a seal, with 4 houses linked together. In the middle of the blocks, there is a space called the celestial well, which makes space airy, enough light for the harem and a place to escape the smoke of incense.

The main hall is called Thien Hau Cung, the center room worshiping Mrs. Thien Hau and the two sides worshiping Mrs. Kim Hoa Nuong Nuong and Long Mau Nuong Nuong. The statue of Mrs. Thien Hau was carved from a wooden block of one meter long existed quite long ago, before building the pagoda, which was worshiped in Bien Hoa and moved here in 1836.
Ba Thien Hau Pagoda, the oldest temple in Cholon area.
Ba Thien Hau Pagoda, the oldest temple in Cholon area. Photo: Panoramio
Vuong Hong Sen scholar in the old Sai Gon book wrote about the temple: "Today's temple is as we see it, built entirely of materials brought here from China. From the bricks and tile sheets to the pottery on the roof are all transported by boats. The way of decoration also kept in the Chinese style, uninterrupted bricks, and counted every single one, and neat straight lines like drawing ... "

The most famous ancient temple in District 5, daily there are many people come to worship, especially on the first and the full moon day of the lunar month. Especially the New Year holidays of the year of the Chinese people such as the Lunar New Year, Nguyen Tieu, Doan Ngo ... The biggest festival of the pagoda is Thien Hau birthday (March 23 of the lunar calendar) that attracts not only Chinese people, Vietnamese people in Ho Chi Minh City but also in provinces.

Phung Son Pagoda

Phung Son Pagoda is ranked National Cultural Monument in 1988.
Phung Son Pagoda is ranked National Cultural Monument in 1988. Photo: Wikipedia
Phung Son Pagoda is located on Ba Thang Hai Street (District 11), founded by Zen master Lieu Thong in the early 19th century. At first, the pagoda was only a small temple built on a high mound so people around the area called the Go pagoda (Pagoda in Hill). Legend has it that the phoenix came to perch in the plane tree, in front of the temple and then raising a crow.  the Zen Buddhist said it was a good omen, so he changed the temple's name to Phung Son, meaning the mountain temple with phoenix.

In 1904, the temple was rebuilt. Over 200 years with 2 major restorations, the pagoda still retains the ancient architecture with wooden frame and yin and yang roof. The pagoda has 40 statues of illumination, including some precious statues such as the Tam Ton Di Da, the spectacular Ngu Hien Thuong, stone Buddha statues, Tieu Dien statue ...
5 oldest temples in Saigon 5 oldest temples in Saigon Reviewed by Duy Khiêm on March 14, 2019 Rating: 5

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