Chen Kieu – a unique pagoda of the Khmer

Visiting Khmer pagodas is not only a serene get away, but also a fascinating way to peek into the lives of a Khmer Buddhist, a solitary culture at the heart of the Mekong Delta. Among these pagodas, Chen Kieu (also known as SroLoun pagoda) is one with the most unique architecture.

Chen Kieu or Sa Lon pagoda is located in Da Tam commune, around 12 km from Soc Trang City

Located 10km from SocTrang City, Chan Kieu pagoda can be found on the way from SocTrang to Bac Lieu Province, about 230km from Ho Chi Minh City.

According to Trinh Tien, a member of the pagoda’s management board, Chen Kieu pagoda was erected in 1815 in a spacious area with lots of trees. It was damaged by war but was renovated in 1969. During the rebuilding, due to a lack of construction materials, monks came up with the inspiration of calling for donations of bowls and plates from local people for use in decorating the main building.

Chen Kieu Pagoda is also carved with beautiful patterns of the image of Haloman combined with statues of Goddess of hawks and lion in an area of green, ancient trees contributing to the tranquil beauty of Chan Kieu pagoda. The pagoda’s altar has 20 Buddhist statues in different positions and its library has a collection of Buddhist scriptures written on palm leaves, some are new and some dating back hundreds of years.

In the residence of the pagoda there is a set of chairs and a bed made from ebony, donated by the family of Tran Trinh Huy, commonly known as Cong Tu Bac Lieu, son of one of the richest families in Bac Lieu Province in the first years of the 20th century.

 

Bowls and plates combined with Japanese tiles add bright colours to the pagoda

Plates are also used to decorate pillars inside the pagoda

Sacred animals are carved and decorated with ceramic pieces

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