Nguyen Lien Phong – a famous officer during Nguyen Dynasty, a talented musician and poet wrote about Ha Chuong Assembly Hall in Nam Ky Phong Tuc Nhan Vat Dien Ca book as follows:
Hà Chương Hội quán ai bì (Ha Chuong Assembly Hall can not be compared)
Ôn Lăng thất phủ hạng nhì, hạng ba (On Lang is the second and the third).
Các chùa còn lắm xa hoa (The pagoda is very luxurious),
Thờ ông Phước Đức, thờ bà Thai Sanh (Worship Phuoc Duc God, worship Thai Sanh Goddess).
Thiên hậu thánh mẫu rất linh (Thien Hau Lady is very sacred),
Quan công thánh đế lịch xinh tượng hình (Guan Yu statue)…
According to scholar Vuong Hong Sen, Ha Chuong was the biggest and most beautiful pagodas so that old people in Saigon China Two usually say “as big as Ong Huoc Pagoda).
Location: 802 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 14, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
CLICK HERE to see the location of the street.
Opening hours: 6:30 – 16:30.
Total area: 2,400 m2.
Year of establishment: 1809.
History, variations of its names
At the end of the 17th century, many Chinese people who spoke Fujian left China for Vietnam, then lived in De Ngan (Saigon Cholon now).
Chinese people from two cities Xuanzhou (府, Tuyền Châu) and Zhangzhou ( 漳州市, Chương Châu) donated and built an assembly hall (会馆, Hội Quán) called Nhi Phu in about 1730 in order to gather, help each other, meet the spiritual, religious and cultural needs of Chinese people.
Because of some disagreements, the people from Tuyen Chau City established On Lang Assembly Hall in 1740. People from Chuong Chau City built Ha Chuong Assembly Hall in 1809. The two halls are not too far from Nhi Phu Assembly Hall.
In Vietnamese, it is called Hội Quán Hà Chương, Chùa Ông Hược, Chùa Bà Hà Chương. In English, it can be called Ha Chuong Assembly Hall, Ong Huoc Pagoda, Ba Ha Chuong Pagoda.
On 28th December 2001, Ong Huoc Pagoda was recognized as a National Cultural-Historic Site.
Nhi Phu Temple has a total area of about 2,400 m2. The total area of the front yard is about 300 m2. The remaining area is for worshipping area and the office.
The pagoda consists of four halls that have their own roofs, walls. They form a 口 (khẩu, mouth) shape. The square light well (courtyard) faces all halls and bring fresh air and natural lights to the pagoda. The halls are usually called Front hall (Tiền Điện), Left hall and Right hall (?Trung Điện), back hall (main hall, Chính Điện).
Main gate, fence and front yard
Wrought iron main gate and the fence of the pagoda are simple. The 300-front yard has some pots of flowers and used as parking.
The burner in the yard is for burning old, unused, unwanted incense sticks. On the right, there is a staircase leading to old apartments.
Red curved roof with lots of ornaments is a characterized feature of Chinese pagodas. From the front yards, visitors can see four magnificent palaces, dragons and a Dharma wheel.
One of the splendid palaces, with animals and people figurine (dragons, phoenixes, Qilins, fishermen, farmers, beautiful women, etc.)
A fierce dragon and a deity riding a sacred animal, smaller ornaments telling stories in China.
The edges of the roof are decorated with glazed green tiles and golden and red reliefs.
The pink ornament in the shape of a flower pot (or lotus), golden wooden carved Qilin ornament, wood carved flowers.
A red and golden ornament has a flower pot shape, golden carved dragon.
Delicate wood carvings under the ceiling.
Two Qilin statues in front of the main door are made of a whole stone.
One of the two precious stone pillars with dragons and eight deities sitting and standing on dragons’ scales, clouds in the corridor of the front hall. They may impress visitors at the first looks. There were six stone dragon pillars, two of them were brought to another place, two are in the corridor, two in the main hall.
In 1868, Zhuangyuan (principle graduate or optimus) Lam Hong Nien from Phuoc Chau sent two parallel sentences on the two stone pillars.
Carved stone and relief depicting a vase of flowers on the front wall in the corridor.
Reliefs depicting dragons fighting for a pearl and a story.
Reliefs depicting tigers and a story.
Inside front hall
Two Menshens (door Gods) and two women bringing fruits and flowers are painted on the wooden doors.
The ceiling, purlins (đòn tay), horizontal carved wooden panels of the front hall.
Jade Emperor (Ngọc Hoàng Đại Đế) is worshiped in the front hall.
Sky well makes the entire pagoda bright and well-ventilated. The courtyard faces all hall. From the sky well, visitors can see the two beautiful carved stone pillars.
Warmest Greetings To All from Tracy Do! If you have any questions about Vietnam including Vietnam tours, do not hesitate to contact me.
Tracy’s team is proud to provide excellent Ho Chi Minh City Day Trips including Ho Chi Minh Motorbike Tour, Ho Chi Minh Food Tour, Mekong Delta Tour, Cu Chi Tunnel Tour, Ho Chi Minh Transfer Service and Shore Excursion to thousands of guests for 10 years. Let us have a chance to show you South Vietnam to the fullest.
Back hall (Main hall)
On top of the roof of the main hall, there are big and small dragons in green and red colors, a deity ride a strange animal, and lots of figurines. All are made of cement and broken pieces of ceramic objects.
The altar of Thien Hau Lady is in the middle of the main hall. The area is decorated splendidly with carved wood altars, “bao lam” decors, horizontal wooden panel, lanterns, a palaquin and a boat.
Thien Hau Lady (or Sea Lady, Mazu) who is known as the Sea Goddess, supporting Chinese people in the sea. She is usually worshipped in Chinese pagoda in Saigon because she helped Chinese immigrants to reach Vietnam safely. In the altar, the statue of Thien Hau Lady wearing colorful embroidered dress, several beaded necklaces, an elegant hat. She is flanked by two assistants or servants.
The altar and “bao lam” are masterpieces, with small an thin carved flowers, dragons, phoenixes, many other animals, birds, fruits, deities and people doing something.
The wooden palanquin and boat are decorated with red fabric, fabric flowers and embroidered curtain with dragon pattern.
Phuc Duc Chinh Than is worshiped on the left. The relief on the left wall depicts Mazu and her assistants.
Phuc Duc Chinh Than or Ong Bon is known as the God of Soil and Ground. He traveled and helped Chinese immigrants in different countries.
Me Sanh Me Do (Mẹ Sanh Mẹ Độ) takes care of the birth of people and supports them in their entire life. She also wears a beautiful and colorful costume and hat.
The relief on the right wall depicts Mazu helping people in dangers in the sea.
The ancient bell with lotus, dragon, cloud patterns since 1868.
Reliefs depict Fu and Lu of the Sanxing and beautiful fairy.
The left hall, looked from the front yard.
Beautiful decor items on the wall of the left hall: palace, people, jewelry, furniture, fans, etc.
Birds and dragon ornaments on top of the roof, relief of vase of flowers (peonies and Easter lilies).
Guan Yu altar where Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Liu Bei are worshiped.
Horse General in front of the altar.
Relief depicting Guan Yu riding his horse and fight the enemies.
Monkey King altar.
Stories about Monkey King are carved into walls.
Bao Zheng, Jade Emperor, God of Wealth and other deities and Gods are worshiped in the left hall.
Right hall, looked from the front yard.
Birds and dragon ornaments on top of the roof, relief of vase of flowers (daisies, peonies and pink apricot flowers).
In the right hall, Guanyin, Gautama Buddha and Ksitigarbha are worshiped.