Vinh Long has great potential to develop spiritual cultural tourism associated with garden eco-tourism because there are many communal houses and pagodas ranked as historical – cultural relics at the provincial and national level. Recently, Phat Ngoc Xa Loi Pagoda has become widely known because it is one of the famous destinations not only for Buddhists, seniors, and young people not only inside the province but also in Mekong Delta and other areas come over to visit, pray… And it is also an attractive place to save beautiful photo frames for tourist. Let’s find out why this pagoda is so famous!
General information about Phat Ngoc Xa Loi Pagoda
The origin of this pagoda was the idea of Venerable Thich Thien Hoa when Venerable NaRaDa (a Sri Lankan) requested three Buddha relics from Nepal and India to donate to the Nam Viet Buddhist Association of Vinh Long province in 1970. Then Venerable Thich Thien Hoa initiated the construction of the Stupa to worship the Buddha Relics and establish the Western Buddhist Cultural Center.
By 1972, the construction of a ground floor and two floors had to be unfinished because of lack of funding, partly due to the impact of the war. From 1975 to 2008, the Stupa was abandoned and suffered desolation. At this time, the People’s Committee of Vinh Long province assigned and re-granted 1.7 hectares of land to the Buddhist Sangha of Vinh Long province.
By 2010, it was held to start the construction of the Phat Ngoc Xa Loi Pagoda in Vinh Long province and the Buddha Relics Stupa, but then due to the economic downturn, the sponsors did not carry it out. As expected at the beginning, the construction project was temporarily stopped. After 5 years, the project had to be unfinished for the second time.
By the beginning of 2015, following the enthusiasm of the previous generation, Venerable Thich Dac Phap and the Buddhist Sangha of Vinh Long province, along with the fervent belief in Buddhism of monks, nuns and Buddhist followers, carried out the campaign to continue construction until now.
Phat Ngoc Xa Loi Pagoda is located in Vinh Hoa hamlet, Tan Ngai ward, Vinh Long city, at the foot of My Thuan bridge, about 7 km from the city center. From Ho Chi Minh City, it takes more than 2 hours to get here, therefore, renting a private car with a driver to visit this pagoda would be the best option.
What is the unique about the pagoda?
When we arrived, appearing before our eyes was a very large, majestic of three gateways which cast from monolithic Granite, 9 meters high, 1.5 meters wide, 7 meters thick, weighs about 20 tons,… very rare in the Mekong Delta River.
The pagoda’s architecture is very unique and diverse, mixing tradition and modernity with many Buddhist artistic styles from many countries around the world. Construction items in the pagoda include two Tam Quan Gates (three gateways), statue of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva Monument, Main Hall, Xa Loi Stupa, Dharma Hall, Sangha Hall, Lecture Hall, Sangha Hall,… and is still in the construction phase.
The highlight of the pagoda is the statue of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva with a height of 32 meters, ivory white mixed with golden light, exquisitely crafted to exude a gentle and benevolent beauty. The statue stands majestically on a large pink lotus, the lotus pedestal is 03 pillars with 09 golden dragons (symbolizing the land of Cuu Long) winding at the feet.
In front of the Main Hall are 05 statues representing 05 main sects of Vietnamese Buddhism and two other bronze statues of Dharma Protectors, Bodhisattvas (people call them good and evil).
Inside the main hall, there are many large pillars carved and sculpted with elaborate patterns, each pillar has different parallel sentences in Buddhist scriptures.
The most prominent in the Main Hall and also the symbolic part associated with the name of this pagoda – Phat Ngoc Xa Loi, is the Emerald Buddha Statue. The statue is carved from monolithic jade stone mined in Canada, 1 meter 3 tall, weighs about 1 ton, turquoise color, brought to Vinh Long in 2017 as donated from Buddhists to the pagoda.
There is also a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni placed behind the Emerald Buddha with a height of 3.5 meters, weighing about 4.5 tons, and a Statue of Patriarch on the back of the Main Hall. Both of the was cast bronze, and cover by gold. In addition, there are many other large Buddha statues beautifully carved and worshiped in very solemn positions such as the statues of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva,… especially the 18 Arhats in bronze, rare copper of high value is only found at the Phat Ngoc Xa Loi Pagoda in Vinh Long.
The ideas on using materials, layout, and harmonious colors to create unique architecture that make the temperature inside the Main Hall is always cool. Therefore, the space always has gentle purity, this is also the point that tourists are most satisfied with when visiting the Buddha ceremony.
The next highlight and also the second symbol of this Pagoda is the Sarira Stupa, known as the tallest stupa in the Mekong Delta with a height of 45 meters and has 9 floors. Each floor has a different way of displaying and worshiping Buddha statues. The tower was built in a hexagonal shape. And the tile corners of the tower are carved with exquisite dragon patterns, imbued with ancient culture. Visitors can go up the 9 floors of the tower by the stairs inside the Main Hall.
The pagoda’s square is dozens of meters high, very wide, with airy space. From this height, there is a panoramic view of My Thuan bridge and a corner of Vinh Long city, breathing fresh air because located far from the city center. Furthermore, tourists can also admire the sunrise or sunset from this area.
Useful information about Phat Ngoc Xa Loi Pagoda
- Best for: solo, Buddhist followers
- Entrance: Free
- Tourist spots nearby: Vinh Trang Pagoda, Thoi Son Islet,