Giac Vien Pagoda

24

Nov
2021

Giac Vien Pagoda

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Established by the monk Hai Tinh Giac Vien in 1744, this temple is located on the outskirts of the city, and is one of the most peaceful places around. Well known for its collection of more than 150 wooden statues, the pagoda seems to serve mainly as a dedication to the departed. Several large, beautifully carved tombs lie to the right of the entrance, as do some photographs of the dead. A columbarium houses funerary urns. Although the interior is dark, strategically placed apertures in the roof allow the sunlight to pierce the gloom with an almost cinematic effect.

The sanctuary’s altar is a riot of several Buddha statues in varying sizes, some gilded, others plain wood or ceramic. A large A Di Da Buddha sits at the back and two small Bodhisattvas are perched in front; more than a dozen sit between. A stepped conical structure with a multitude of small Buddhas on every level fronts the altar, and is lit by fairy lights. On either side of the sanctuary are cloisters filled with bonsai trees and grottos.

Close by is the Dam Sen Water Park, a welcome diversion, especially enjoyed by children. Water slides and rides, an artificial river and lake, and shady rest spots all make for a fun-filled day. The park also has landscaped gardens with lagoons, pagodas and several unusual animal sculptures.

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