Giac Lam pagoda in Lac Long Quan street, Tan Binh district is one of the most famous ancient pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City. The pagoda is imbued with the religious architectural style of the southern region.
The pagoda has three main rooms: the main ceremonial hall, the Dharma preaching hall and the meal hall.
Venerable Thich Tri Duc of Giac Lam pagoda said, “Giac Lam pagoda was built by Ly Thuy Long in 1744. Long ago, Giac Lam forest surrounded the pagoda. That’s why the pagoda was named Giac Lam”.
In front of Giac Lam pagoda is a seven-storey hexagonal stupa and a statue of the Goddess of Mercy under a Bodhi tree which the Most Venerable Narada brought from Sri Lanka and planted in 1953.
The pagoda is a mini-museum housing 113 ancient statues, most of them made of wood. Thanks to its long history and unique architecture, the pagoda was recognized in 1988 as a Vietnam National Cultural Heritage.
In District 3, there is another ancient pagoda, known as Phuoc Hai or Ngoc Hoang (Jade Emperor) pagoda, which is one of the city’s most popular religious site. Builtin 1892, the pagoda has a Chinese architectural style with brick decoration and colorful Yin-Yang style roof.
The pagoda has approximately 100 statues made of cartridge-papers which are nearly 100 years old but still look new.
Local photographer Nguyen Ba Dang noted, “I often visit the pagoda to take photos. This is not a large place but the scenery is beautiful with unique architectures. The landscape here is particularly impressive in the morning sunlight. I can usually get several beautiful photos”.
Vinh Nghiem pagoda in Nam Ky Khoi Nghia street, District 1, is another famous pagoda. Its religious architectural complex is the largest in the city. The pagoda is outstanding with its 40-m-high 7-story tower.
The pagoda comprises a Buddhist ceremonial hall a stupa of the Goddess of Mercy and other structures. Its architecture is similar to Vinh Nghiem pagoda in Bac Giang province but it was built with modern construction materials and technology.
It is one of the pagodas in the typical Vietnamese Buddhist architectural style of the 20th century. Vinh Nghiem pagoda hosts numerous Buddhist activities.
Venerable Thich Thanh Phong, Head of the Pagoda, stressed,
“Our daily rituals and practices follow the tradition of Truc Lam Zen. The monks and nuns at Vinh Nghiem pagoda always welcome Buddhist followers to the pagoda”.
Pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City are not only places of Buddhist worship but also centers of the public cultural activities. Visitors to the pagodas are introduced to the history of religions and beliefs and stories about life.