Xa Loi Pagoda is one of the most famous pagodas in Vietnam. The Pagoda is designed according to modern architectural style, but still has traditional architectural character. This place witnessed some historical events struggling against policy suppressing religion of Ngo Diem regime in South Vietnam before. Let’s discover together the pagoda.
Xa Loi Pagoda is located on the corner of Su Thien Chieu street and Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street. The pagoda has 2 gates: the main gate looks out Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street and the side gate looks out Su Thien Chieu. At the corner, there is a big statue of Avalokiteśvara made from stone so that visitors come here to burn incense.
The campus of Xa Loi Pagoda has an area of 2,500m2. Two gates of the pagodas are built according to Vietnamese traditional temple style – 3 entrances and bent roofs covered tiles, but looking neater. The above and the middle has word line: “ CHÙA XÁ LỢI”.
Inside the pagoda, on the left, there is a seven-floor bell tower with the height of 32m. This is the highest bell tower of bell towers of the pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City. On the highest floor has a big bell with the weight of 2 tons. The bell tower is the highlight of Xa Loi Pagoda, which attracts the attention of tourists and people up and down.
The pagoda yard has many bonsais and flowers making the pagoda more beautiful. Behind the yard is Main Temple with the width of 15.2m and the length of 31.2m. The Main Temple is built according to modern architectural style. Looking generally, it has cube shape, the same as modern western building, but still having bent roofs covered tiles. The main temple has 2 floors: the first floor is the auditorium and the second floor is Buddha’s temple. The front of the Main temple has 2 staircases with a broken shape very charming.
Inside Buddha’s Temple, at the back, there is only one big Buddha Shakyamuni statue covered from gold. This neat and simple worshipping way makes people focus more to Buddha Shakyamuni statue. In front of the Buddha statue is place worshipping Budda’s Sarira. The upper floor of Buddha’s Temple is decorated with a set of pictures consists of 15 pictures talking about Buddha’s History from the time being born to the time going into the nirvana. The temple has large and high windows. Generally, Inside Buddha’s Temple is a large comfortably cool space. All give us a peaceful feeling.
Besides Mean temple, Xa Loi Pagoda has many other offices such as management board office, living room, monk room, dining room, Buddhist book publishing room and so on. Generally, the pagoda is enough every means for religious activities.
The pagoda was constructed on August 5th1956, the First Republic of Vietnam in South Vietnam according to the drawing of 2 architects Tran Van Duong and Do Ba Vinh. The temple was completed on May 2nd 1958. The pagoda was built to worship the bone of the Buddha.
The pagoda was the headquarters of the Nam Viet Buddhist Association from 1951 until 1981. From 1964 to 1966, the pagoda was also the teaching base of the Van Hanh University. From 1981 to May 1993, the temple was the headquarters of Buddhist Association of Vietnam (Office II).
Besides architectural value and religion value, Xa Loi Pagoda has historical value. This place is the historical witness of Ngo Dinh Diem time in South Vietnam. The struggles resisting the policy suppressing Buddhism of Ngo Dinh Diem regime were organized here. This place has still saved documentaries and remains of the struggles.
Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street and Su Thien Chieu Street have many old and big trees which makes the area cool. On Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street, there is Nguyen Thi Minh Khai School. Before 1975, this school had had the name as Gia Long Schoolgirl School. The young girl used to come to Xa Loi pagoda to see the sight, relax or study lesson. They had many memories here. On the street, there are restaurants serving mudskipper hot pot – a folk dish in South Vietnam.
Coming to Xa Loi Pagoda, We have an opportunity to watch a beautiful pagoda having modern architectural style, watch a place that used to witness a hurtful historical stage of Vietnamese and especially, burn an incense stick to pray to Buddha for peace of the world. Traveling to Ho Chi Minh City, You will not regret when deciding to visit Xa Loi Pagoda.