Bat Pagoda (Vietnamese: Chùa Dơi) is a beautiful pagoda and is the only Khmer pagoda worshipping Shakyamuni Buddha in Soc Trang Provine. It is called Bat Pagoda because the Pagoda campus is the place where there are very many bats living. Every year the pagoda attracts ten thousands of tourists coming for sightseeing.
According to ancient books, Bat Pagoda was first built in 1569. The pagoda was restored many times. In 2008, the main temple fired. In 2009, the main temple was restored the same as old one. In 2013, Bat Pagoda Tourist Area started acting. Opposite the pagoda, the gate has a large parking lot and facilities such as restaurants, electric cars.
Bat Pagoda has an ancient Khmer architectural style. The main temple is built of bricks. The roofs are covered with red tiles, 4 roof corners are bent up and carved the shape of Naga God Snake. On the top of the roofs has a pointed tower. Around the temple is supported by pillar lines of which each pillar has a fairy putting both hands in the front of the chest.
Inside the main temple has the Shakyamuni Buddha statue made of stone in a block with the height of 2m riding Muchalinda God Snake. On the walls is pictures describing Buddha’s life from being born to going into the nirvana. Especially, in Bat Pagoda has Buddhist books written on palmyra leaves and remains which have the features of the religious culture of the land region of South Vietnam.
Outside Bat Pagoda is a green shaded forest with old and big trees. In the forest has the tomb towers of the pagoda leaders and Sa La common house being the relaxing, studying and practicing place of the monks.
Besides, behind the pagoda has strange tombs, on each tomb is drew a pig picture. These are five-nail pigs (normal pigs have only 3 nails) fed in the pagoda by the monks and when dying, they were buried here. In the present, the pagoda still feeds 4-5 pigs.
The highlight of the pagoda is bat flocks. Around the pagoda is a forest with mainly hopea odorata trees and dipterocarpaceae trees in which there are ten thousands of bats living. Every late in the afternoon, they rush back to the pagoda yard cover whole sky. The monks here think that rushing back to the pagoda is a good thing for the pagoda, so they have protected bat flocks actively. The bats in the pagoda are of big bat kind, the weight of from 1kg to 1.5kg and the width of the wing of from 1m to 1.5m. They have 2 colors – dark yellow and black.
Visiting Bat Pagoda, you will get to watch a pagoda built according to ancient Khmer architectural style, bat flocks hanging on tree branches, stay in a peaceful atmosphere of the pagoda. You will forget anxieties in the life and feel your heart calm down.