Xiem Can pagoda in Bac Lieu

Published:  09:31 Wednesday - October 24, 2012

Xiem Can pagoda in Bac Lieu

Wat Kom Sakor Prêk Chru or Xiêm Cán pagoda is located in Hiệp Thành commune, Bạc Liêu province, about 7km from the South East of Bạc Liêu town. Although Xiêm Cán is not the most ancient Khmer pagoda, it is still considered one of the most fabulous pagodas in the system of Khmer pagodas in the South of Vietnam.

 Xiêm Cán pagoda was initiated built in 1887 by monk Thạch Nam. In 1909, an intense storm destroyed totally the centre chamber and caused serious damage to other rests of this pagoda. Then abbot together with monks took a long time to rebuild the centre chamber by precious woods. Xiêm Cán pagoda now is the result of hard efforts of many people in this pagoda.

The very unique architecture of Xiêm Cán pagoda makes this pagoda become one of the most attractive cultural going places in South of Vietnam to tourists. Xiêm Cán is a combination of architecture, sculpture and religion from gate to centre chamber.

Traveling to Bạc Liêu province, Xiêm Cán pagoda is a destination that nobody can ignore. This is one of the most places to go sightseeing, to learn about Vietnam culture and history and to relax. The pagoda was designed on a campus land which is quite spacious and airy with the gate that turns to the East as the religion’s belief of Khmer - the East is the end of road to reach to Buddha. The gate is decorated with the statue of multiple-head snake and many other elaborate engravings.

The architecture of Xiêm Cán pagoda features the cultural characters of Khmer people in the domes, walls, pillars, doors and stairs. Each step of the stairs is all sculpted with the Nagar Basilisk which is very splendid and glorious. As well as the gate, stairs and domes of centre chamber were also engraved with snake vignettes because of believing that the mercifulness of Buddha tamed this kind of dangerous reptile.

Going into the centre chamber is going into a different world – the world of spirit silence and comfort. Tourists can leave the tiredness and anxiety behind then enjoy the peaceful and serene feeling. Following the two main walls, there are many sculptures and wall paintings, especially the wall paintings that express the life of Gautama Buddha from his birthday to death and the wall-paintings express Ramayama epic. All the sculptures and paintings have vital values to the search, conservation and development of national culture.

Sala is another special place of Xiêm Cán pagoda. This is not only the place for monks to take rest but also the place that monks and Khmer Buddhists gather. As well as centre chamber, Sala is famous for its wall paintings about the lifetime of Buddha. Coming here, tourists can also admire the sculptures of nymphs and beasts. Nymphs and beasts were said to be the challenges that Buddhists had to overcome to reach Buddha. The centre of Sala’s roof is decorated with the image of Angkor Wat - the source of Khmer architecture style.

Xiêm Cán pagoda is the place to honor Buddha and also the centre of culture and education of Khmers near the pagoda. There is school that teaches Khmer, Pali, Buddhist book of prayer, etc. It is also the storehouse of Khmer folk stories and many other treasured values of culture.

This pagoda is the one of the significant cultural centre of Khmer community in Bạc Liêu. During major Khmer festivals like Ok Om Bok (the moon prayer festival on April 13), Chol Chnam Thmay (New Year, April 12 -15), and Đôn Ta (festival for the dead, from 12 to 14 of the October), Xiêm Cán pagoda is filled with locals and visitors who come to pray for luck and happiness.

Existed nearly 130 years, Xiêm Cán pagoda has the very important meaning because of the cultural values and because of its historical values also. In the past, this pagoda used to be the shelter of Việt Cộng, one of the centre that gathered forces for politic struggles. Many monks and Buddhists sacrificed for the independence of Việt Nam here.

Xiêm Cán pagoda now still stores an ancient Khmer book written in leaves which is a vital and treasured document of Khmer culture. Together with other ancient items, this sacred site becomes a wonderful destination for ones love traveling and discovering.


Source: VTR

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