Two unique pagodas in Soc Trang

VietNamNet Bridge – Chua Dat Set or Clay Pagoda and Chua Doi or Bat Pagoda are the most famous destinations in the southern province of Soc Trang.

Clay Pagoda



Bat pagoda, Clay pagoda



The pagoda is situated at the heart of Soc Trang City, with the more formal name Buu Son Tu.

From the outside, the pagoda resembles more of a resident house than a pagoda, without any pillar or wooden panel like a typical pagoda architecture.

Built by the Ngo family more than 200 years ago, the pagoda is now run by members of the family's fourth generation.

Unassuming from the outside, this pagoda is highly unusual in that nearly every object inside is made entirely of clay. The hundreds of statues and sculptures that adorn the interior today were hand-sculpted by the monk Ngo Kim Tong.

From the age of 20 until his death at 62, this ingenious artisan dedicated his life to decorating the pagoda. Though the decor borders on kitsch, the pagoda is an active place of worship, and totally different from the Khmer and Vietnamese pagodas elsewhere in Soc Trang.

Entering the pagoda, visitors are greeted by one of Ngo’s largest creations – a six-tusked clay elephant, which is said to have appeared in a dream of Buddha’s mother. Behind this is the central altar, which was fashioned from more than five tonnes of clay. In the altar are a thousand Buddhas seated on lotus petals. Other highlights include a 13-storey Chinese-style tower over 4m tall. The tower features 208 cubby holes, each with a mini-Buddha figure inside, and is decorated with 156 dragons.

The pagoda is also well-known for having four pairs of giant candles that weigh 200kg each. They are 2.6m high, with a diameter of one metre. The candles were made in 1940. Two of the candles have burned continuously since the death of head priest of the pagoda, Ngo Kim Tong, in 1970, and have burned off only half the wax.

Needless to say, the clay objects in the pagoda are fragile, so explore with care.



Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam

Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam


Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam





Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam




Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam



Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam

Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam




Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam
The 2m candle.




Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam


Chua Dat Set va cay den nen tu chay sang suot 700 nam

All statues and items in the pagoda are made of clay.

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Two of the six candles of 200kg, 2.6m high, which can blaze in more than 100 years.

Photo: Dan Viet

Bat Pagoda



Bat pagoda, Clay pagoda



Chua Doi, or Wat Mahatup is a Khmer-style Pagoda built around the 16th century, 4km from of Soc Trang City. The pagoda is home to huge century-old trees and about one million bats each of which is about 1kg in weight and with wing-span of 1m to 1.5m. The bats leave the pagoda at night to look for food and come back early next day. The bats at Chua Doi don't eat fruits within the pagoda's area.

When the sun goes down, the temple is bustling with the sound made by bats. That’s the time the bats leave the temple to search for food. Strangely, they always fly in lines for a few rounds, never flying across the roof of the main temple. People think this is like an invocation of the blessing of the bats from the Buddha before flying out.

In addition to bats, stories about pigs with five hoofs make the ancient temple in Soc Trang increasingly immersed in mysterious colors.

The Khmer believe that pigs with five hoofs are devils and any family breeding such a pig will encounter misfortune. Therefore, for over 20 years, Khmer families have brought pigs with five hoofs to the temple. These pigs are taken care of and buried here after they die.

Bat pagoda, Clay pagoda

Bat pagoda, Clay pagoda The tombs of pigs.

Chùa Dơi là tên gọi quen thuộc của người dân địa phương, nhưng tên thật là chùa Mahatup hay là Mã Tộc.
Chùa Dơi là tên gọi quen thuộc của người dân địa phương, nhưng chùa có tên thật Mahatup hay Mã Tộc.
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Ngoài Sóc Trăng, dơi ngựa lớn, dơi ngựa bé và dơi ngựa Thái Lan còn được Tổ chức Bảo tồn động vật hoang dã tìm thấy ở Cà Mau, Kiên Giang.
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Photo: Zing/24h/Vncgarden


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Bat pagoda, Clay pagoda
 
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