Phước Kiển Pagoda is a special temple in Đồng Tháp Province. This is a home of the most unique types of lotus in Vietnam imported from Amazon with extremely large sizes that can carry people with a maximum weight of up to 80kg. This giant lotus leaf alone has made a significant tourist attraction for the pagoda in particular and Đồng Tháp in general.

How unique Phước Kiển Pagoda is?

The pagoda was built with simple and unfussy architecture, including the entrance gate, the tower worshiping Guanyin, and the main hall. Although not possessing a majestic and majestic design, this temple has a history of more than 150 years.

Phước Kiển Pagoda was bombed during the war, so there are many bomb craters. The temple has been renovated into 2 lotus ponds, creating a beautiful landscape. The small lake is located in front of the entrance, the big lake is behind. In both areas, only large-leaf lotuses with unique shapes and sizes are grown, commonly known by locals as lotus king. Because of the special giant lotus species, the pagoda is also named Sen Vua(King Lotus) Pagoda or Lá Sen (Lotus Leaf) Pagoda.

Actually, the strange lotus species is native to the Amazon region, the scientific name is Victoria Regia. Lotus leaves are large, thick, and have many spines. These leaves can shrink in volume depending on the season. In the dry season, the lotus leaves shrink to only about 1-1.5m wide. However, the lotus plants grow fast during the high water season (August until November). In the floating season, the leaves are flooded, so they grow more, reaching 2.5m in diameter. There are individual trees, the leaves are more than 3m wide.

The edge of the lotus leaf is 3-5cm higher than the water surface, shaped like a sports hat. It is thanks to its large size that this lotus species can “carry” an adult weighing about 70-80kg but only slightly swaying the water surface. Despite possessing large leaves, this lotus species has very small flowers. The flowers are similar to water lilies, but with more petals. When it first blooms, the flowers are white, gradually turning pink and then dark purple when they are about to fade.

Visitors to the temple can participate in the experience of standing on the giant lotus leaves and taking pictures. Inside the lotus leaf is a circular aluminum plate. Local people will make small wooden bridges to assist guests to step on the lotus leaves safely without tearing the leaves.

In addition to the lotus with giant leaves, in Phước Kiển Pagoda, there are many other “treasures”, including 3 turtles. Of these 3 turtles, there is one 106 year old (weighing 15kg), one 101 years old (weighing 13kg), called “old turtles”. There is a special thing is that the youngest turtle only sleeps on a mosquito net and never goes into the water. The turtles all eat vegetarian foods. When monks chant, turtles crawl to the main hall or do not move, listen to the chanting. According to monk Thích Huệ Từ, the two oldest turtles lived in the temple before he came here to be the abbot.

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