Tra Vinh

22

Nov
2021

Tra Vinh

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With its large Khmer, Christian, and Chinese population, Tra Vinh is distinguished by the diversity of its places of worship. Of the many Khmer­style religious buildings, Ong Met Pagoda is distinctive for its portico posts surmounted by four­faced images of the Buddha. The 10­ft  (3­m) tall gilded stupas, mound- shaped reliquary monuments,  are dedicated to deceased monks. One of the most vibrant Chinese pagodas in town is Ong Pagoda, which was consecrated in 1556 and dedicated to the deified Chinese general Quan Cong of the 3rd century. The pagoda is known for its wildly colorful rear courtyard, one wall of which is engraved with red dragons disporting themselves between blue mountains and a green sea. A highlight is a fish pond where richly painted  sculpted carp are shown in mid- leap as they break through the  surface. These are all the works of Le Van Chot, who has a sculpture studio on the grounds. However, it is the Tra Vinh Church that captures the spirit of the town’s religious eclecticism best. Although its exterior has a colonial­style design, a close examination of the eaves reveals “dragon flames,” typically seen on Khmer­style temples. Environs About 4 miles (6.5 km) south of town, Hang Pagoda is a simple structure. Its main attraction is the hundreds of storks that nest here. The Khmer Minority People’s Museum has some interesting exhibits but there is  no English signage. While house- hold items, costumes, and  jewelry are self­explanatory, religious items might need a guide. The museum is located beside the tree­ringed Ba Om Pond, about 4 miles (7 km) southwest of Tra Vinh, which is ideal for picnics. Also close by is the Ang Pagoda, a religious site since the 11th century. A pride of sculpted lions guard the entry, flanked by murals depicting the Buddha’s life. Not far from here is the small green­and­white painted Mosque Hoi Giao, which belongs to the region’s Cham community and was originally built in 1921. About 3 miles (5 km) north of Tra Vinh is the small President Ho Chi Minh (Uncle Ho) Temple, built in 1971 just two years after the death of Ho Chi Minh. It includes a small museum of his life, with pieces of military equipment on display around its leafy compound.

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