Soc Trang is known as the “capital” of pagodas and towers. In addition to being a space for cultural and religious activities of the Khmer people, the pagodas are also a destination not to be missed by tourists on your journey to explore the Mekong Delta region. Each pagoda has a completely different style, giving visitors one surprise after another. Among them, it is impossible not to mention Som Rong Pagoda.
General information about Som Rong Pagoda
The pagoda is located at 367, Ton Duc Thang Street, Ward 5, Soc Trang City.
Som Rong Pagoda’s full name in Khmer is Bôtum Vong Sa Som Rong. Construction began in 1785, this pagoda has a history of more than 600 years. Initially, the pagoda was built temporarily with materials exploited in the local area such as bamboo, leaves… At the present time, after many restorations and embellishments, the ancient pagoda of Som Rong has put on its a new, more spacious and eye-catching appearance.
Regarding the name Som Rong, this is because in the past there were many wild trees called Som Rong growing around the pagoda, from which the pagoda got its name. To mark the origin of the unique name, there are still 2 Som Rong trees in the middle of the hundreds of years old forest, creating an extremely unique and interesting highlight.
Impressive architecture of the ancient pagoda
In front is a pagoda gate decorated with many Khmer cultural symbols such as the Naga god snake, Krud god bird, traditional patterns… covered with gold emulsion. Above the gate there are 5 towers, symbolizing Mount Meru, where five Buddhas in the future will attain enlightenment according to Buddhist concepts and also where five gods often reside according to the doctrine of Brahmanism.
From the main gate to the yard is about 100m but there are many ancient trees about dozens to hundreds of years old.
Som Rong Pagoda was also built in the same architectural style as other Southern Khmer pagodas with an area of 5 hectares including: main hall, sala (meeting place for Buddhists), house for monks, and also a book library. The architectural works inside the pagoda are harmoniously combined with each other.
The main hall is the main place to worship Buddha among the pagoda’s architectural works. The entire main hall is supported by 6 rows of pillars, with a very special roof structure consisting of 3 roof systems overlapping each other at a certain distance. The roof adjacent to the column is decorated with images of the goddess Keynor and the god bird Krud, contributing to the solidity and strength of the columns supporting the massive roof, while also contributing to increasing the beauty and prestige facilities for the project.
On both sides of the entrance to the main hall is a fierce image of a Unicorn, guarding the door to prevent evil and protect the Buddha. On the walls and ceiling of the main hall are murals depicting the life of Shakyamuni Buddha.
The altar in the main hall places many statues of Shakyamuni Buddha. Among them, two ancient Shakyamuni Buddha statues were crafted from trees in 1785, the year the pagoda was founded. These two Buddha statues are in a standing position, with arms straight forward, palms with red palms facing forward, meaning to remind people not to do evil deeds, but to accumulate blessings and virtue by do good.
The pagoda ground divides into many different areas, the most prominent being the stupa located right at the entrance to the pagoda and parallel to the main hall. The stupa has four directions and four paths, representing love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Along both sides of the path leading up to the stupa are decorated with images of the Naga (god snake) and motifs of ancient Khmer patterns carved very delicately and sharply.
The unique feature of the tower is the paint color. Instead of the traditional yellow, the tower is painted gray, exuding both modernity and majesty, as ancient as monolithic stone architecture.
If Sa Lon Pagoda makes you excited by the walls and pillars decorated with scraps of cups and plates, Som Rong Pagoda promises to bring you eye-catching moments with a huge Shakyamuni Buddha statue with dimensions of 63 meters long, 22.5 meters high, placed about 28 meters above the ground.
Wat Patum Wongsa Som Rong Pagoda becomes more poetic in the late afternoon. Coming here at this time, visitors not only worship the pagoda and pray for peace but can also buy an impressive and unique photo album.
- Best for: solo, family, student, Buddhist…
- Entrance: Free
- Tourist spots nearby: Four Faces Pagoda, Bat Pagoda, Kh’Leang Pagoda, Chen Kieu Pagoda, Nga Nam Floating Market, Khmer Museum, Clay Pagoda…
Source: collected by An