Tra Vinh is a beautiful land in the Mekong Delta, where 3 ethnic groups live: Chinese – Khmer and Kinh. In particular, the Khmer people live very densely, so the cultural traditions of the people here are imbued with the colors of the Khmer people, the most prominent being the system of pagodas and temples. Currently in Tra Vinh there are 142 Khmer pagodas with extremely unique and eye-catching architecture and Ong Mat Pagoda is one of them. Today, let’s join Viet Dream Travel to learn and explore this many-year-old pagoda!
General information about Ong Met Pagoda
Ong Mat Pagoda, also called Bodhisàlaraja, is located on 01 Le Loi Street, Ward 1, right in the center of Tra Vinh city. From Ho Chi Minh city, it would takes nearly 3 hours of driving to get here, so renting a private car with a driver would be the best way to visit the pagoda. The location of the pagoda is very favorable, located in the center of Tra Vinh city, convenient for travel and transportation of tourists who want to visit and explore the pagoda. This is also a very ancient pagoda, built in the year 642, and is now hundreds of years old, very sacred and ancient.
Ong Mat Pagoda belongs to the Khmer Theravada sect in Tra Vinh – where the number of Khmer Theravada pagodas is located. The three ancient and great pagodas in Tra Vinh are: Ang pagoda, Hang pagoda and Ong Mat pagoda, of which Ong Mat pagoda is the oldest recorded by historical documents, several hundred years earlier than Ang pagoda.
Architectural beauty of Ong Mat Pagoda
Like other Khmer pagodas, Ong Mat Pagoda includes many architectural works such as: gate, main hall, sala (assembly house), flagpole, monkshood, memorial tower… Although it was built in different stages, made of different materials and used for different purposes, these independent architectures exist harmoniously in a common architectural whole imbued with Southern Khmer cultural identity.
The pagoda currently has a very large area of 12,900 square meters with many landscapes, beautiful scenery and a solemn main hall. The pagoda consists of many harmonious structures surrounding the main hall, on a campus of nearly 1.3 hectares, surrounded by a closed wall, the front facing Le Loi street.
The gate of Ong Mat pagoda is built firmly and majestically, with 8 pillars supporting the gate roof. On the top of each column is carved the image of the god Keyno bird as if to send a friendly invitation to visitors to visit. On both sides of the gate are beautiful walls decorated with pairs of seven-headed snakes, which are sacred symbols for the Khmer people.
The main hall of Ong Mat Pagoda was built in the East direction, rectangular in shape, located on steps. That’s why the pagoda is cool and dry all year round. The main hall is roofed with 3 layers of pyramidal roofs.
At the first corner of the tile layers there is a winding dragon tail, very sharp and delicate. This dragon motif is the sacred symbol of the snake god Nagar. The tiled roofs are also carved with intricate patterns. The main hall is located on 1.35m high steps, creating a majestic, imposing posture, surrounded by a fence.
The main hall is built with 32 pillars made of precious wood, divided into 4 rows. At each end of the column and horizontal skewer, there are carved patterns painted in red and gilded gold. The two gables in front and behind the main hall are two precious wooden panels elaborately carved with many images representing the spiritual cultural life of the Southern Khmer people.
All parts of the pagoda such as columns, rafters, beams, and ceilings are meticulously designed, and the patterns are painted with luxurious gold lacquer. There are two gable, one is carved with sunflowers, and another one is carved with two lions holding parasols covering a tray for scriptures.
On both sides of the main hall’s walls are paintings illustrating Buddhist relics. When exploring inside the main hall, the first thing that catches visitors’ eyes is the statue of Shakyamuni Buddha on a large lotus placed on the altar in the center of the main hall, 4.4 m high, 5 m long and 5 m long. 4.3 m wide. This is one of the largest Buddha statues in Khmer pagodas in Tra Vinh province. On the right is a large altar, in the middle is a statue of Preaschi meditating on a lotus, surrounded by Buddha who attained enlightenment, all of them look very majestic and solemn.
Behind the main hall is the library with the unique architecture of a traditional wooden stilt house of the Southern Khmer people. All 24 column heads, central and longitudinal… are elaborately carved and painted with gilded vermilion. The library has three compartments, the middle compartment is book store, including many ancient bibliographies. The two other rooms on both sides are reading and studying places for monks.
Furthermore, the space at the pagoda is very large, pure and peaceful, helping visitors have moments of relaxation after tiring working hours.
Ong Mat Pagoda converges Khmer cultural characteristics and is also a symbol of the Southern Khmer Theravada sect. The pagoda is not only a place to practice religious rituals but also a center for community cultural activities. With unique historical, cultural and artistic values, Ong Mat Pagoda has become an attractive tourist destination. On March 3, 2009, Ong Mat Pagoda was recognized as a National Monument in Tra Vinh.
Useful information about Ong Met Pagoda
- Best for: solo, family, pilgrims.
- Entrance: Free
- Tourist spots nearby: Ba Om pond, Ang Pagoda, Museum of Khmer Ethnic Culture, Vinh Long Ancient House …