Xiem Can Pagoda is more than 130 years old, bearing traditional Khmer architecture, and featuring a colorful main hall. Here, the pagoda will be recognized as a typical tourist destination in the Mekong Delta.
Xiem Can Pagoda is located in the coastal area of Vinh Trach Dong commune (Bac Lieu city, Bac Lieu province), about 12km southeast of the city center. The pagoda started construction in 1887 and was built by Venerable Lam Mau. Currently, Venerable Duong Quan is the eighth abbot.
The pagoda was built on an area of nearly 50,000m2, bearing the traditional Angkor Khmer architecture, shown in unique motifs in the dome, walls, columns, and stairs. The arrays of reliefs, colors, patterns, and curved lines represent fully and boldly the characteristics of a cultural relic of the Khmer people.
Inside the temple yard is a reclining Buddha image (entering nirvana) with a roof for guests from all over the world to offer incense and pray before entering the main hall.
The main hall is a place to worship Buddha built in the center of the temple, on a three-level high platform. The motif of the god Garuda bird is decorated on the pillars of the corridor. Two hands or two wings raised to support the roof of the pagoda, it is the image of the goddess Kay No and the bird god Maha Krud. For a long time, the image of Krud has been closely associated with the spiritual and aesthetic life of the Khmer.
Outside the main hall is a fenced campus that is meticulously decorated, in harmony with the architecture and general colors of the temple. On either side of the entrance are two guardian beasts.
In the architectural decoration of Khmer pagodas in the South, it is necessary to mention the image of the snake god Nagar. The image of a snake in Xiem Can pagoda is embossed with 5 spreading heads in the shape of Bodhi leaves decorated at the four sides of the top of the stairs leading to the main hall.
Inside the main hall, there is no door in the middle, but it is open to the east and west to avoid the morning sun shining directly on the altar. This place has a fairly large area with 12 round columns embossed with patterns.
On the wall as well as on the ceiling are decorated densely with images telling about the life of the Buddha from the time he was born, cultivated and attained enlightenment until he entered nirvana.
The main hall is the place to worship Shakyamuni Buddha and is the place where important religious ceremonies of monks and Southern Khmer people follow Theravada Buddhism. It is decorated quite simply with a three-story high altar. In it, there is the largest statue of Shakyamuni Buddha placed in the center position. The Buddha statues worshiped here symbolize the wisdom, power and eternity of the Buddha.
In addition to the main hall, inside the campus of Xiem Can Pagoda, there are many other images and clusters of statues of Buddha for people to worship.
Every year, many Khmer festivals take place here, attracting a large number of people to attend, such as: Chol Chnam Thmay (New Year) takes place for 3 days (about April 14-16 of the solar calendar); The Sen Delta festival takes place on one of the three days of October 8, 9, and 10 of the solar calendar. It is known that Xiem Can Pagoda has been considered and recognized as the 10th typical tourist destination of Bac Lieu province. in the Mekong Delta region. As planned, in November 2022, Bac Lieu will hold a recognition ceremony within the framework of Bac Lieu Culture – Tourism Festival activities.
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Keyword: More than 130 years old Khmer pagoda is colorful in the West