Soc Trang Province in the Mekong Delta has three well-known pagodas – Khleang, Doi, Dat Set and Chen Kieu – which are all built in Khmer style.
Positioned 10 kilometers from downtown Soc Trang Town, Chen Kieu (Bowl) Pagoda or so-called Sa Lon Pagoda, is located on Highway 1A at Dai Tam Commune, My Xuyen District. The pagoda is skillfully decorated with a layer of stylishly designed bowls and different colored plates by ancient artisans and was built with a spiritual significance.
The pagoda was erected in a spacious area with green lines of trees in 1815. It was damaged by war but was renovated in 1969 and some craftsmen used the broken bowls and plates to redecorate it.
A tourist’s first impression may be the motley colors of the pagoda. The gate is highlighted by two giant stone lion statues and the sanctum has 16 pillars carved with images of the legends of Khmer culture. The edges of each roof are decorated with patterns and traditional statues of Khmer culture to inspire peace of mind and salvation.
In the sanctum there is a huge statue of Sakyamuni and many other Buddha statues. Also there are a number of statues of various sizes in the garden of Chen Kieu, each representing different teachings of Buddhism. The reclining Buddha represents the peacefulness of entering Nirvana and of gaining enlightenment.
In the garden of the pagoda, there are many small thatched huts on stilts; these are for local pilgrims to meditate to clear themselves from sins or illness.
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