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December 16, 2012
Vietnam travel guide

Tay An Pagoda in Chau Doc town, An Giang province

Located on the Sam Mountain, Chau Doc Town, An Giang Province, Tay An Pagoda is one of ancient pagodas that combines the architecture features of Vietnam and Asia.

According to “Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi”, a ancient history book about Vietnam, there has rows telling abaout Tay An Co Tu Pagoda (Tay An): ““located on one side of a mountain and headed towards the town with quiet and peaceful atmosphere, Tay An is really a beautiful sight”.

Built in 1847, Tay An Pagoda has been undergone many reparations and renovations. In 1958, it was thoroughly upgraded to encompass a total area of 1,250sq.m with nearly 200 statues. This area provides water and electricity for more that 1,000 inhabitants living around.

Being a unique work in the region, Tay An Pagoda is a mixture of Vietnamese and Asian architectural styles. The appearance of the pagoda itself looks like a monk dressed in yellow, lying on the Sam Mountain, heading to Chau Doc Town, An Giang Province.

According to an old legend, one day, Doan Uan, the Provincial Chief of An Giang could not get sleep after a hard-working day. He went out for a walk in the guard tower in An Giang Castle (next to Chau Doc Market) and looked up into the sky. Suddenly, he saw a five – color clouds taking off from the base of the Sam Mountain. Standing inside that strange cloud is Bodhisattva with a holy appearance, bold head, beard and the face of a farmer looking down with beautiful eyes. There were male and female Buddhists standing behind Bodhisattva and singing songs to welcome a rich rice crop. Several days later, the Chief ordered to a pagoda with brick walls, green stone floors and red tiles built, facing east in honor of the vision and with the hopes of making it come true. A good rice crop would help stabilize people’s living conditions and develop the country. The front of the pagoda was designed in a similar style to Indian ones. It has an oval dome and the roof is in the shape of a sailboat. However, designs inside the pagoda basically follow the style of traditional Vietnamese Buddhist pagodas. The Dai Hong Bell is of particular interest as it was made of gold and copper under the Tu Duc’s Reign and is now over 111 years old. After a long period of time, it has even managed to keep the sound of its voice ringing clear

Located right in the entrance of the pagoda, at the temple gate is the Statue of Mother Holding Child. In the ground of the pagoda there are two large statues of elephants; one is a black elephant with two ivories, representing power over…

The Western Corridor of the pagoda is a large room that can accommodate about more than 100 pilgrims at the same time. In front of this corridor, there are two statues of the Goddess of Mercy in white and inside the corridor are two large statues of A Di Da God. The back yard is where monk’s living rooms are located. Tay An Pagoda has a sacred atmosphere due to the smoke of incense and prayers of pilgrims. The main temple has more than 100 statues each representing the power of Buddhism; the most prominent statue is a Buddha sitting on the Lotus Tower.

Leader monks have made great contribution to the construction of the pagoda. They include Phat Thay Tay An (in the 19th century), Thich Bao Tho (in the 20th century) and today superior monk Thich Hue Kinh, who has been voted to be a member of the An Giang Buddhism Association.

The solemnity and holiness of Tay An has become an invisible power, attracting a great number of monks and pilgrims. But the solemn and ancient style of architecture and peaceful space are what visitors will never forget. On December 6th, 1989, the Ministry of Culture and Information officially classified Tay An Pagoda as a national historical site.


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