4 Pagodas worth visiting in Ho Chi Minh city
After exploring the lifestyle of Ho Chi Minh City and contemplating historical sites and unique French architecture structures here, you will be recommended to must-see pagodas letting you perceive the locals’ religious culture amid the high-octane level. To perfect your Ho Chi Minh City tours, don’t miss out!
1/ Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
In the case that your religious beliefs are prone to Buddhism or simply you would like to understand a little bit the architecture and history of pagodas in Vietnam, Vinh Nghiem in Ho Chi Minh City should be added to the itinerary for your Ho Chi Minh city tours. Erected within seven years (1964-1971), Vinh Nghiem Pagoda cover about 6,000 square meters and is a complex of a pagoda, a four-story tower and a building where monks and nuns live and study. While the pagoda is designed to include a ground floor and a sanctuary on the top that frequently open to visitors, the tower is for worship and other spiritual activities.
Especially, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda – is a unique fusion of Vietnamese architectural style and Japanese influence, it design is based off another pagoda in the northern Vietnam (with the same name) under the support of Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association. Often, the locals will come here and pray for the best things for themselves and their family in festivals time, e.g. Lunar New Year or the 15th day of each lunar month. It is also an exciting point in Vietnamese culture, deserving a try.
2/ Thien Hau Pagoda
Positioned at the crowed Nguyen Trai Street, Thien Hau Pagoda – among others in Ho Chi Minh city – carries the marks of Chinese culture as it is dedicated to a traditional Chinese goddess, namely Thien Hau. Not belonging to Buddhism, Thien Hau is merely a spiritual icon from the Chinese’s seafaring culture, who is, in the fishermen’s mind, capable of following their ships on the sea as well as protecting them from bad situations. Basically, the pagoda was erected with the goal of expressing their gratitude to Thien Hau due to what she has done for their seafaring work.
Although Thien Hau is not the most exquisite pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, it is famous for its awesome incense. There are countless coils of incense hung in the primary worship area, also in front of the altar; it will bring you a comfortable feel when it is being burned and you are roaming around here. Besides, what makes the pagoda more emerging is a range of unique decorations on roofs and walls, getting you absorbed for sure.
3/ Jade Emperor Pagoda
Perhaps, you have heard of the Jade Emperor Pagoda before because it is where the USA President Barack Obama paid a visit a year ago. Ever wonder why this site was chosen for his visit in Vietnam? Built in 1909 by the Chinese community to revere the supreme Taoist god, the pagoda is an example of Mahayanist branch of Buddhism. Visiting here, the scenery around will open your mind to part of the religious culture of the locals.
There are two Taoist statues inside; one is of the General, prevailing over the Green Dragon, and another is of the General against the White Tiger. For a Ho Chi Minh City tour with this destination, you will take a chance to obtain the more understanding of the locals’ religious beliefs that they suppose that the Emperor is who will make a decision about who to set foot in the higher realm of the heaven
4/ Hoang Phap Pagoda
Hoang Phap Pagoda was built in 1959 by Monk Ngo Chan Tu and was rebuilt in 1995 by Monk Thich Chan Tinh. Not influenced by Chinese architectural culture, the pagoda is pure Vietnamese style, from the architecture to the red tiled roof to the name to the parallel sentences in the modern Vietnamese language
In 2000, about 3,000 followers descended upon the pagoda to study Buddhism and learn how to lead a meaningful life. Since then, Hoang Phap has become one of the most famous pagodas in Vietnam. Activities of the pagoda have set Vietnamese records. The pagoda had the largest number of Buddhists in Vietnam in 2006 and made the country’s biggest flower lantern to honor Buddha in 2007.
Hoang Phap runs training courses in the summer to teach children how to behave with their friends, relatives and neighbors and how to express their love and gratitude to their parents. The pagoda also organizes monthly courses for cancer victims and the vision-impaired which use the teachings of the Buddha to lead an optimistic life and to overcome misfortunes, said Monk Thich Chan Tinh.