Khmer Pagodas in Soc Trang – Top pagodas you must visit

Overview of Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang

Soc Trang is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the Mekong Delta for its natural beauty, diverse cultures, and friendly people. Especially, the architecture of the Khmer pagodas attracts many tourists to visit and admire the spectacular works and the meaning behind every pagoda. Different pagodas carry different beauty and architecture so they make visitors surprised and admired. Let’s explore the unique beauty of Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang with the Mekong Smile Tour!

Soc Trang – the kingdom of pagodas

Famous Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang

Som Rong pagoda

Som Rong Pagoda, also called Botum Vong Sa Som Rong Pagoda, is situated at 367, Ton Duc Thang Street, Ward 5, Soc Trang city. The location is on the main road so it is quite easy for visitors to travel there. In 1785, the Khmer people built the pagoda with basic materials such as bamboo, wood, and a leaf roof. People call the pagoda “Som Rong” because many Som Rong trees have grown naturally on the campus. In 1725, the Som Rong pagoda underwent its first restoration to meet the demand of the local people. After that, the pagoda was restored many times until the main temple was completed.
Som Rong is a religious structure existing for more than a hundred years (Source: Vnexpress)

The impressive structure and design

The gate of Som Rong pagoda is decorated with cultural symbols of Khmer people such as the snake god (naga), the bird god (Krud), and other traditional patterns, etc. painted in golden. On top of the gate, there are five towers representing Meru Mountain, where five Buddhas practiced Buddhism and entered the nirvana. The campus now has two large Som Rong trees and a lot of old trees here. The pagoda has an area of 5 ha, including the main temple, rest houses for monks, and a library with over 1,500 books for students, local people, and other Buddhists.

The unique structure of the entrance gate of Som Rong
More importantly, the main temple was meticulously designed. Workers used six rows of pillars to create a foundation to lift the temple. Besides, the roof has three layers arranged in the same style as the statues of the dragons, Keynor god, and Krud god. People worship a lot of statues of Buddha in the internal space. Two of them have been made from wood since 1785 – the establishment of the pagoda.
The main temple of Song Rong Pagoda
The main temple of Song Rong Pagoda
The campus includes different parts. One of the most outstanding parts is the chedi with 4 doors presenting four Buddha’s qualities including love, compassion, joy, and discharge.
One of the most attractive parts of the pagoda – the Chedi
It is on the right of the entrance 25 m high and preserves more than 400 jars of ashes of the monks, vows, and temple abbots.  Besides, there is a statue of Gautama Buddha attaining Nirvana with a length of 63 meters, a height of 22,5 m. There is a 28-centimeter platform to lift the stone statue.
The statue of Gautama Buddha attained Nirvana

Sro Loun Pagoda (Chen Kieu Pagoda)

The origin of the name “Chen Kieu Pagoda”

Chen Kieu Pagoda (Wath Sro Loun Pagoda) is one of the biggest pagodas in Soc Trang. The name “Chen Kieu” is originally from the process of building the pagoda. Previously, local people and monks were not able to afford building materials. Thus, they donated their old porcelain bowls and plates to tile the walls, stairs, and many other parts.
The main building materials of Sro Loun Pagoda are bowls and plates
The main building materials of Sro Loun Pagoda are bowls and plates
Chen Kieu Pagoda is the cultural spot of Soc Trang, where the Kinh, the Khmer, the Cham, and the Chinese live harmoniously. Therefore, their cultures impact the architecture of the pagodas and temples. The pagoda includes the main temple, a campus, a sala area, and garden miniatures. In the middle is the pillar with the statue of Nagar (snake god) and a garden miniature reappearing the story of Buddha. The internal details are meticulous and aesthetic that many visitors can’t stop complimenting its beauty.
A corner of Sou Loun Pagoda
A corner of Sou Loun Pagoda

History of Chen Kieu pagoda – Mysterious story inside the pagoda

Traveling to the 200-year-old pagoda, visitors have chances to explore mysterious stories there. Chen Kieu pagoda was built in 1815, but in 1969 it was destroyed by war. After that, the ninth abbot – Tang Duch restored the pagoda. Especially, Chen Kieu pagoda has recognized the provincial historical and cultural heritage.

The main temple of Sou Loun Pagoda
The main temple of Sou Loun Pagoda

In fact, there are two corpses of two former abbots preserved there. People worship them as Sarina in the sacred temple. Most Khmer people practice Theravada, so they consider external appearance as just a cover. The soul is the most significant element forming a person. The pagoda consists of cultural, religious, and historical features which make many visitors wish to explore the destination once.

People worship Buddha statues in the main temple

Doi Pagoda

Doi Pagoda is attractive for its ancient beauty and tranquility. It is in Van Ngoc Chinh Street, Ward 3, Soc Trang city. Just about 2 km from the city center. Doi Pagoda was built in 1569 by Mr. Thach Ut with woods and water coconuts. So far, it has gone through many restorations. Unfortunately, the main temple burned in 2008, but in 2009 monks restored it to maintain the previous structure.

The golden gate in Doi Pagoda
The golden gate in Doi Pagoda with a meticulous design

The historical name of Doi pagoda in Soc Trang

In fact, local people name it Doi pagoda because it has been the habitat for many bats for a long time. Besides, the Khmer name of the pagoda is Wath Sêrâytêchô Mahatup. ‘Maha’ means ‘big’, ‘tup’ is ‘oppose’ – mahatup means a big resistance. According to residents, furious fights used to take place here because farmers started a rising against the mistreatment of feudalism. Finally, justice was in favor of these local residents. Then, they believed that religion is a peaceful land and build a pagoda to worship Buddha in their villages.

The overall view of Doi Pagoda
The overall view of Doi Pagoda

Architecture

Doi Pagoda is well-known for its unique and ancient architecture. The patterns and statues on the roofs, pillars, and walls represent the Khmer culture and Buddhist symbols. People use symbols of the 5-headed giant snake, Fairy Kenmar, and others. These patterns are combined meticulously to create a unique beauty for the pagoda.

The main temple of Doi Pagoda in Soc Trang
The main temple of Doi Pagoda in Soc Trang

The structure and decoration follow the Khmer ancient architectural style with tiled roofs. The roofs have Naga snake shapes and a pointed spire on the top. When visitors come inside the sanctuary, they can admire the monolithic Buddha image on a lotus tower about 2 m high. Besides, Doi Pagoda also preserves scriptures written on palm tree leaves and other precious artifacts about the cultures and beliefs of the Southern region.

The roofs have Naga snake shapes
The roofs have Naga snake shapes

Doi Pagoda is the habitat of thousands of bats

The campus is surrounded by a lot of old trees where visitors can take a rest on the row of chairs and enjoy the fresh air here. Most of the trees are woods, as old as the Doi pagoda. The trees create a natural habitat for many bats to live in.

The tranquility of the Doi Pagoda's campus
The tranquility of the Doi Pagoda’s campus

Some of them are so big that their wing spans are over 1 meter and hang on the tree branches. When the sun goes down, many flocks of bats will return to their home – the Doi pagoda. The monks believe that the bats gathering is the blessedness from Buddha for Doi pagoda. Therefore, people always protect and preserve the bats.

Bats gathering in Doi pagoda

Kh’leang Pagoda – One of famous Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang

Kh’leang Pagoda follows the Khmer ancient style and has a special meaning to the Khmer community in Soc Trang.  That is where local people choose the pagoda to celebrate important religious ceremonies and large festivals. Besides, the campus is around 4,000 square meters. Kh’Leang is well-known for its long history of establishment, Buddhist teachings preservation, literary displays, and artistic works. Kh’Leang is one of the first religious works in Soc Trang Province, around 1532. Kh’Leang in the Khmer means “land of the warehouse”, representing a land of various cultures and unique religious works.

Kh'leng Pagoda
Kh’Leang Pagoda

The impressive and magnificent architecture of Kh’Leang Pagoda

At first, the Khmer people use raw materials such as bamboo, wood, leaves, etc. to build the pagoda. They replaced these materials with modern ones to create a unique, sustainable architecture in 1945. The 500-year-old pagoda imprints Khmer, Chinese, and Kinh cultures with sophisticated construction syles and elegant patterns.

sophisticated construction syles and elegant patterns
The perfect combination of sophisticated and elegant patterns

These details are combined in a harmonious way that many visitors love it. Visiting the pagoda, visitors will see a big entrance gate decorated with traditional Khmer symbols. On top of the gate, there are the jaggery trees – living with the Khmer people for years to years.

Kh'leang Pagoda has a large campus with green trees
Kh’leang Pagoda has a large campus with green trees

The main temple

The most meticulous and magnificent part is the main temple, situated on a 3-step foundation. Each step is about one meter high. The architect used ten pillars, and seven rows of columns to lift the roof. These wooden pillars are large, smooth, black, and painted in gold. Workers engrave pictures of the journey of Buddha and Buddhist activities into the pillars.

The main temple of Kh'leang pagoda
The main temple of Kh’leang pagoda with unique architecture

Kh’leang Pagoda has harmonious architectural traits showing the traditional artistic characteristic of the Khmer people then and now. It is considered one of the most artistic, cultural, and religious works in Soc Trang.  On April 27, 1990, Kh’leang Pagoda was recognized as the national architectural and artistic relic by the Ministry of Culture and Information.

The Khmer people celebrate many important festivals in the pagoda
The Khmer people celebrate many important festivals in the pagoda in Soc Trang

Address: Ton Duc Thang Street, Hamlet 5, Ward 6, City Soc Trang

Some notes when tourists visit Khmer pagodas

  • Because most Khmer traditional festivals in Soc Trang happen in October (Lunar Calendar) so this is an ideal time to visit these pagodas.
  • When entering the main temple, visitors should go in from the side doors instead of the main door or the middle one.
  • Remember to dress properly to show your respect to Buddhas and the monks in the pagoda

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%B3c_Tr%C4%83ng

Leave a Reply

preloader