When mentioning to tourism in Mekong delta region in general, people normally think about cruising along Mekong river to some villages and tropical fruits gardens. However, if you are interested in religion and truly want to enjoy the unique experience, you should not miss Vinh Trang pagoda, an ancient architecture in Tien Giang province.
Vinh Trang pagoda is the biggest pagoda in Tieng Giang, with area of 2000m2 with many beautiful trees. However, formerly it was a small leaf hermitage set up in the early 19th century by District Chief Bui Cong Dat. In 1849, the Most Venerable Abbot Thich Hue Dang put it up a big pagoda and named it Vinh Trang Pagoda. After many times of changing who in charge of the pagada and reconstructing, now the pagoda has many netlike panels, horizontal boards and oblong boards of the parallel sentences.
The beautiful structure of pagoda features a mixture of Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian architectural styles. Specially, the extremely beautiful structures in the pagoda are two triumphal arches bearing an art of inserting bottle and porcelain fragments which create harmonious pictures illustrating the Buddha’s legendaries. The pagoda has three entrances and the central gate is always close while the two sides are open. These side gates are adorned with colorful porcelain mosaics featuring Buddhist folktales and natural scenery. Besides, the façade of Vinh Trang pagoda is decorated with both Asian and European architecture including elements from Renaissance period, French decorative flowers together with Japanese enameled tile. If you look from far distance, the pagoda resembles the five-tower of Angkor temple. The pagoda is surrounded by gardens of ornamental trees, ancient trees and bonsai, creating a peaceful atmosphere. It provided shelter for Vietnamese patriots and is recognized as a national historical and cultural relic by the government.
In the present time, the monks besides maintaining the pagoda they also provide a home for children with disabilities, orphans and other kids in need which follow exactly the spirit of Buddism – humankind love.
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