Khleang Pagoda: Pride of Soc Trang

Soc Trang Province is one favourite tourist destination because of its rich history and culture. Khleang Pagoda is one noteworthy attraction in the place because of its national significance to Vietnam.

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Khleang Pagoda, also known as Kh’leang or Khleng Pagoda is an ancient Buddhist temple of the Khmer pagoda system in the Southern part of the country. It was built in the 16thcentury in 1532 by King Ang Chan of the Chan Lap country. While conducting an inspection in one of his territories, at the Srok Kh’leang at the downstream of Hau River, he noticed that there was no Buddhist temple in the area. He ordered the manager of the land to construct one so that the people will have a place to worship. The manager, Mr. Tac, called all the believers and representatives of the land for help who, without a moment’s doubt, offered their possessions and labour to building the pagoda. Construction began in December 16, 2076. The chosen abbott for the temple was Thach Soc, a 61-year old monk who was ordained for 40 years and was practicing at Luang Bassac Pagoda in My Xuyen District, Soc Trang Province, while Me Kon was selected as the head of the regional monks.

Khleang Pagoda is set on a 3,800 metre square area and is designed with Khmer architecture which is characteristic of colourful patterns, textures and colours. The structure is charmingly surrounded by palm trees while securely protected with a strong fence all around. Mounted on each pillar of the temple is the statue of the dancer Ken Naarr which is designed with open arms that reach up to the roof. The roof is installed with three small towers. It has a primary gate which faces eastward at  Ton Duc Thang Street and a secondary gate facing Nguyen Chi Thanh Street.

The main hall is 200 metre square, two metres above the ground and has three levels, with each level fenced with bricks all around. The hall is designed to face all directions with a door. The roof is also built in three levels with a winding dragon statue design. On top of the pillars in the corridor area are Krud statues with their heads propped up. All around the main hall are Teahu and Yeak statues. Inside, the roof frame is reinforced by 12 huge pillars designed in Corinthian Greek style: painted in black; dragon design; and yellow fishes. The door of the presbytery is made of wood engraved intricately of a fight scene between a fairy and a monster (Yeak). Other rooms in the pagoda are a Sala hall, house of abbots, monk houses, tower, incinerator, among others.

Khleang Pagoda is the only worship place for Shakyamuni Buddha. There are 45 statues of such in the temple, each with different sizes and designs. The wall serves as a mural of the life of the Buddha from the time he was born until he was “enlightened.” The temple was rehabilitated many times between from 1916 to 1994.

Khleang Pagoda is located at 53 Ton Duc Thang Street, Ward 6, Soc Trang City, Soc Trang Province. It is recognized by the Ministry of Culture and Information as a national Architecture Arts monument and is a must-visit for the history and cultural buffs.



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