Vinh Trang (Vinh Truong) Pagoda

One of the oldest pagodas in the Southwest is the Vinh Trang Pagoda. The pagoda's architecture is a mix of Asian and European influences, making it a popular spiritual destination in Tien Giang.

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The pagoda sits three kilometers from the city center, in the My Phong Commune. It was constructed in 1849 by Hue Dang, a Buddhist monk who raised donations from practitioners. In 1861, French colonists severely damaged the sacred site, as did a strong storm in 1904. On both occasions, practitioners restored the pagoda to its former glory.

Vinh Trang Pagoda is Tieng Giang's largest pagoda, covering 2000m2 and boasting many lovely trees. Previously, it was a modest leaf hermitage founded by District Chief Bui Cong Dat in the early nineteenth century. The Most Venerable Abbot Thich Hue Dang built a large pagoda in 1849, which he named the Vinh Trang Pagoda. The pagoda presently features many netlike panels, horizontal boards, and oblong boards in the parallel sentences, after several changes in who is in charge of the pagoda and reconstructions.

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The stunning building combines Chinese, Vietnamese, and Angkor (Cambodian) architectural elements. Five structures, two ornamental yards, and 178 pillars make up the pagoda. Two triumphal arches with an art of inserting bottles and porcelain fragments to form harmonious pictures illustrating the Buddha's legendaries are the most attractive constructions in the pagoda.

Inside the pagoda, there are paintings depicting "eight angels riding on animals," another set of statues of the Amitabha Holy Trinity carved in bronze, each as large as a man, and, most notably, the set of eighteen Arhants, wood carving work, which is the only one, not two, in the west of South Vietnam, and was created by a group of artists in 1907. The Buddhist priests who looked after the pagoda are buried all over the place. Flagstones with intricate engravings adorn these graves.

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The pagoda has three different entrances. The center iron gate is always closed, but the two side gates in the Co Lau style are always open. Colorful porcelain mosaics depicting Buddhist folktales and natural surroundings adorn the side gates. The pagoda's front combines Asian and European architecture, incorporating Renaissance, Romanesque, and French ornamental flowers, as well as Japanese enameled tile. From a distance, the pagoda resembles the five-tower Angkor Temple.

The pagoda houses 60 valuable copper, wood, and terracotta figures. The 18 aghasts, constructed from jackfruit tree wood in 1907, are the most prized collection. A bell that was cast in 1854 is also on display at the pagoda. A tranquil ambiance is created by the pagoda's surrounding gardens of decorative trees, ancient trees, and bonsai. It served as a safe haven for Vietnamese patriots and is now designated by the government as a national historical and cultural treasure.

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