Viet Nam has 2 pagodas named Vinh Nghiem which literally means Ever Solemn, one in the North, the other in the South. Both famous pagodas leave an unforgettable impression in the heart of visitors. Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is one of the oldest, most beautiful and sacred pagods in Ho Chi Minh City. On 30th July 2015, the Prime Minister of United of Kingdom David Cameron visited and offered Buddha with incenses.
Location: 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Ward 14, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. CLICK HERE to see the location of the pagoda on Google Maps. The pagoda is located less 4 km from Ben Thanh Market.
Opening hours: Main gate: 7:00 – 19:00; Main hall: 7:00 – 11:00; 13:30 – 16:45 daily.
Phone: +84 283848 3153
Vinh Nghiem Pagoda was started to build in 1964 and finished in 1971 under the lead of the two Superior Buddhist Monks: Thich Tam Giac and Thich Thanh Kiem who are from North Vietnam. They wanted to build the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City so that it is similar to Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Duc La Village, Tri Yen Commune, Yen Dung District, Bac Giang Province. They had the famous architect Nguyen Ba Lang design the pagoda.
The 6,000 m2 land on which the pagoda was built was low so that they moved 40,000 m3 of soil from Ha Noi highway to level the ground. The construction of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda costs 98 million of Vietnamese Dong, donated by Buddhist monks.
In 1972, the constructions of Buddha Hall (Phật điện), Guanyin Tower (Bảo tháp Quán Thế Âm) and society activity rooms were completed. In 1982, Public Relic Tower Bảo tháp Xá Lợi Cộng Đồng was finished. After that, they built Abbot Hall (Phương Trượng Đường) and Reception hall (Khách Đường). In 2003, Stone Tower (Tháp Đá) was built.
The modern and traditional Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is one of the typical pagodas of Vietnamese Buddhist architecture style in the 20th century. Vinh Nghiem Pagoda mainly has the architectural style of Vietnamese ancient oriental temples. The design includes three-arched-entrances gate, bell tower, curving roof and traditional decorations. However, it is more spacious, refreshingly airy and brighter than old Vietnamese pagodas. The architectural style of the pagoda is similar to ancient pagoda architectural style in Bac Giang, Vietnam, but with modern building construction techniques and materials.
The pagoda has a three-door gate, seven-story bell tower, main building, statue of Guanyin and parking lot in the front yard, vegetarian restaurant, public relic tower, rest in peace house, rooms for monks.
The large three-door gate was built according to the traditional style with red tiles and an upward curving roof. The gate was supported by four square pillars. Each entrance has one or two delicate wrought iron gates with lotus flower, two pillars, two roofs with red clay tiles and dragon ornaments at the eaves. On two middle pillars are written “Tới Cổng Từ Bi Chiêm Bái Tổ Đình Nơi Đất Bắc” (Arrive at merciful gate, bow the ancestors in the North), “Vào Chùa Giải Thoát Hoằng Ơn Đức Phật Pháp Tại Miền Nam” (Enter pagoda, escape from normal life, be grateful to Buddha in the South). On the main entrance is written the pagoda’s name in Vietnamese “CHÙA VĨNH NGHIÊM”.
In 2005, the city implemented a project to expand Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, the gate of the pagoda was moved inwards, to the present location. The 120 tons gate was moved by Mr. Nguyen Cam Luy – an expert on moving buildings in Vietnam.
The tower has seven floors and a height of nearly 40 m. The square shaped cross section of the tower has four 6-m sides. This is one of the biggest towers in Vietnamese pagodas. At the top of the tower are nine round wheels and sphere which are called “Long xa” (Dragon wheel) and “Quy châu” (Turtle pearl). Each floor has red tiles, phoenix ornaments at curved eaves, Buddha and lotus flower ornaments on the walls.
Vinh Nghiem Stone Tower
On the right of the yard, visitors can see a 14-m seven-story stone tower where Superior Buddhist Monk Thich Thanh Kiem is worshipped. The tower was named Vinh Nghiem, inaugurated in December 2003. Made by 20-30-year-old artists in well-known Thuong, He, Xuan Vu Stone Villages, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh, this is the first stone tower in South Vietnam and tallest stone tower in Vietnam. It also has the largest number of carvings in the country.
The tower was made from black blue stones in Thanh Hoa, most of which were mined in the famous Nhoi mountain. The total weight of the tower is 180 tons. Each upward curving roof is made from a 6-10 ton stone.
Each floor is carved from a whole stone. The cross section is in a square shape with sides of 5 m. The tower is placed on an octagonal pedestal. There are a pair of dragons, twenty seven pairs of small dragons and phoenixes, countless lotus petals, lotus flowers, waves, Bodhi leaves, bats, paralleling sentences on the tower and the fence. On the first floor, visitors can see seal script character which means longevity in Ly Dynasty style and other carvings and decorations in Tran Dynasty style.
The pedestal and tower are surrounded by a stone fence with sides of 9.5 m. Two carved stone dragons on two sides of the staircase have burly bodies, billowing muscles, curved horns, heads held high.
The main building or central building has a L shape and two floors. Three wide and high staircases, each of which has twenty three steps, lead to a spacious rooftop and the Buddha Hall.
The ground floor is divided into two areas: the 4.2 m area under the Buddha Hall and the 3.2 m area in the opposite of the stone tower. The ground floor has many rooms functioning as ancestral house, office, monk room, classroom, lecture hall, restaurant.
Three wide and high staircases lead to a spacious rooftop with a width of 10 m and the Main Hall (also called Buddha Hall or Phật Điện). There is a steeple with the bell, presented by Japanese Buddhism during the Vietnam War.
Buddha Hall has two upward curving roofs with dharma wheel in the middle and phoenix ornaments at the eaves. Pillars and roof frames are made of iron and reinforced concrete. Pillars, walls and roofs are decorated with nice ornaments, most of which are delicately carved wood artworks. Impressive carved wood artworks include carved wood four sacred animals and nine dragons.
In front of the entrances are placed two Bodhisattvas Vajrapani. Buddha Hall consists of three halls inside: Bow Hall (Bái Điện or Front Hall), Buu Hall (Bửu Điện, Bản Điện, Middle Hall, Main Hall) and Ksitigarbha Hall (Địa Tạng Đường or Back Hall), forming the character – 工 (Công).
Bow Hall is a large hall, with a length of 35 m, a width of 22 m and a height of 15 m. The statue of Cundi with 9 heads, 18 arms and 18 eyes is worshiped in this area. The two big candles and beautiful carved wood decors impress visitors.
On the main altar in Buu Hall are worshipped Gautama Buddha sitting in meditation. A standing statue of Bodhisattva Manjushri is put on the left and a standing statue of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra is put on the right of Gautama Buddha. The three statues form the Shakyamuni trinity in Buddhism. In front of Buddha, there is a small statue of Kuan-Yin of a Thousand Arms and Eyes.
In Ksitigarbha Hall, on the altars are worshipped Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc, Hung King, the former President of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang, Nguyen Cao Ky – Vice President Public of Vietnam.
On the walls, there are statues of Rahula and Ananda – two great disciples of Buddha and pictures depicting Arahat.
Public Relic Tower (Bảo Tháp Xá Lợi Cộng Đồng)
Started to build in 1982 and completed in 1984, Public Sarsi Tower has four floors and a height of 25 m. Two staircases lead to the first floor of the building with a unique design. In front of the tower is put a statue of a Buddha with a khakkhara on his hand.
Abbot Hall (Phương Trượng Đường)
Abbot Hall is located on two side and behind the main building, there is also a lotus pond and a lovely green fruit and flower garden. The hall is used as Rest in Peace House, rooms for guests and Buddhist monks.
Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
Location: 290/21A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. The restaurant is also called Viet Chay Restaurant, it is situated in the garden of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda.
Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00
Prices: VND 40.000 – 165.000
Buddhist Art Gallery
Location: 382 B-D-E-F-G Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. The gallery is located opposite Vinh Nghiem Pagoda’s main gate.
Opening hours: 10:00 – 22:00
Vinh Nghiem Pagoda at night
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