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December 17, 2012
Vietnam travel guide

Xvayton Pagoda in An Giang province

Location: popularly recorded as the place with the most leaf prayer books in Vietnam in the Records Books, Xvayton Pagoda, the Khmer pagoda in the center of Tri Ton Town of Mekong Delta, An Giang Province, preserves about 150 series of prayer books on the leaves in its store.

The Head monk Chau Soc Pholly, the sixth generation of monks at the pagoda, said that the pagoda was originally constructed about three centuries a got on a wild area of dense bushes and little human settlement. According to his explanation, because this area is anciently a kingdom of monkeys, the Khmer inhabitants decided to build a pagoda and named it Xvayton (Xa Ton in Khmer language) which means “monkeys pulling each other by their tails”.

In 1896, the pagoda was renovated with concrete that gave it more secure features and unique architectural styles that have existed until present. According to the head monk, the pagoda was built with the cooperation of 50 monks and many well-known architects working all day and night.

Xvayton Pagoda

There are many tradidtional festivals are held at the pagoda by the Khmer people such as Chol Chnam Thmay in March, Sene Dolta in August and in October the Ocbomboc Festival, the bumper crop blessing festival. During these events the monks in the pagoda often preach the old stories, proverbs and sayings in those leaf prayer books to the people.

The head monk also mentioned that the oldest of the leaf prayer booked preserved in the pagoda has a very old age of one hundred year, while the newest one was recorded in 1963 by superior Buddhist monk Chaoty. The main material used to make pages of prayer books was Tra Leaf, a tree that resembles, and may have the same origin as palm trees that are currently rare in the area.

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