1. Overview of Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling urban with many skyscrapers and outstanding buildings. Moreover, the city also attracts visitors because of its historical and cultural attractions. One of them is Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon also named Lucky Sea Temple (Phuoc Hai temple built many years ago. The pagoda is full of prayers coming to wish for peace and luck. Visitors can explore the legend of the Jade Emperor, the practice of Buddhism in Vietnam, and the pagoda’s architecture here.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The front of the Jade Emperor Pagoda


Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon is located at 73 Mai Thi Luu Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. The pagoda typically opens from Monday to Friday, from 5 am – 6 pm. The opening hours will be up to 7 pm on special occasions following the lunar calendar.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The pagoda’s location is peaceful and quiet

How to get there?

Visitors can take a motorbike or taxi to get to Jade Emperor Pagoda because the place is quite far from the city center.

2. The story about Jade Emperor

The pagoda was named after one of the most powerful gods in Vietnamese and Chinese mythology – the Jade Emperor. He can control the three essential elements, such as the sky, land, and sea. Besides, Jade Emperor creates humankind and other things on Earth. Other gods, goddesses, and angels assist the emperor in protecting his people and nature. Many people believe in his existence and magic, so they worship the Jade Emperor as a mighty god and pray for salvation and good fortune.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The painting of the Jade Emperor, who has the most power

3. History of Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon

The temple was built at the beginning of the 20th century by a man named Luu Minh, living in Guangdong, China. Because of that, the pagoda followed typical Chinese architecture. At first, people called the pagoda – The Jade Emperor Pagoda to worship the Jade Emperor God. 

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The pagoda has typical Chinese architecture at the beginning

According to many historical documents, Luu Minh built this pagoda to hide his secret from other people. Luu Minh was a follower of the Master religion; however, the Machu government banned this religion. Some members of the organization had to flee abroad, including Luu Minh. To plan to overthrow the Manchu Dynasty, Luu Minh built a pagoda. They pretended to worship but using this pagoda as a secret meeting place.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The pagoda has a bold Chinese architecture

In 1982, Thich Vinh Khuong, a great Buddhist monk, took over the pagoda. Since then, the pagoda has been assigned to the Vietnam Buddhist Association. After that, its name changed to “Phuoc Hai Temple” in 1984. However, many people still call it “The Jade Emperor Pagoda” because it worships the Jade Emperor in the main temple.  

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
Another name of the pagoda is Phuoc Hai

Although this pagoda has undergone 4th restorations, the ancient architecture has remained. The government recognized it as the national architectural artwork in 1994. Especially, on May 24, 2016, Barack Obama, the former President of the US, paid a visit to Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon. This makes foreign visitors curious about why he chose this temple as the first place to visit in Vietnam.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
Barack Obama with Vietnamese officials and the monk of the pagoda

4. The unique architecture of Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon

Hidden in a tranquil corner of Ho Chi Minh city, the pagoda has ancient and unique beauty with Chinese design, beautiful statues of figurines, and the smell of incense in the air. Many visitors come here to admire the unique beauty of the temple and explore mysterious stories about the sacred pagoda.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The smell of incense in the air surrounding the campus

Exterior architecture

The pagoda’s campus is spacious with a total area of 2,300 m2. The place attracts not only humans but many birds. The green oak trees, turtle and fish ponds, and other artificial landscapes create a peaceful atmosphere. There is a small temple to worship the Protector god. In the middle of the yard are a fish tank and a turtle pond that prayers release into.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
After praying, people will release turtles into the pond

The roof was built with old bricks and tiled with yin and yang tiles. The designer uses colored ceramics to decorate the corners of the pagoda. Moreover, the mascots here look vivid and realistic because they are meticulously carved.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The roof follows the Chinese style with meticulous details

Another feature is the three-door gate with the statues of dragons waving to fight for a pear on top. The pagoda has two entrances; the main entrance is supported by two red concrete pillars and the smaller one. The stone doors have red Chinese inscriptions in a Chinese ancient style.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The design of the gate makes the pagoda more ancient and Chinese

Interior architecture

The interior architecture includes three compartments worshipping different gods and buddhas.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The arrangement of these details is harmonious and formal

The middle compartment

The middle compartment contains three smaller parts: the front hall, mid-hall, and main hall. The front hall worships the altar of Buddha. People will sing and feast in the front and middle hall on big occasions. The main hall has two wooden statues of tiger-tamed and dragon-tamed gods on both sides. Especially, the Jade Emperor statue is in the center with a heaven army standing to protect him.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The statue of the Jade Emperor is in the center of the temple

The left compartment

The left compartment has many statues of gods and generals. One of them is the Statue of To and Nguyet, the gods of love. Thus, many people come here to pray for love. Young couples, who are going to get married, can come here to pray for everlasting love. These couples burn the incense and whisper their names and touch the statues. The gods will fulfill their wishes.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
These two gods represent love and fate

Besides, this compartment also worships the Holy Mother (Kim Hoa Thanh Mau) and 12 midwives in charge of baby delivery. Several infertile couples from different places come and pray for offspring here. Then, many share that their wishes came true, so they went back to buy rituals, incense, and fresh flowers to express their gratefulness to Holy Mother. This place is always crowded, even on weekdays or weekends.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
A lot of people come here to pray to the Holy Mother for children

The right compartment

The right compartment includes guest houses and ancestral tablets. Visitors can see the statue of the Buddha and a wooden stair leading to the statue of Guanshiyin – The one who perceives the Sounds of the World inside the pagoda.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
The pagoda also worships Buddhas

More importantly, the Jade Emperor Pagoda is still preserving many unique ancient artworks such as Worship paintings, statues, incense, diaphragm, couplets, etc. In addition, the Jade Emperor pagoda is also well-known for granting wishes for peace and health. Visitors can pray to Hoa Da fairy monk for good health and life.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
Many people send their sincere pray and receive luck and health

5. Best time to visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda

The pagoda has an annual ceremony to honour Jade Emperor on January 9th (Lunar Calendar). This event attracts many prayers coming to receive great blessings from him. Thus, visitors can come on this occasion to experience the festive atmosphere here.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Saigon - A sacred land
On this occasion, the pagoda is popular with flows of people

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/

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