The Story of a 170-year-old Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City
Lying at the foot of Chanh Hung Bridge in District 8, HCMC, An Phu Pagoda with a history of more than 170 years is frequented by foreign tourists who want to explore its ancient and unique architecture.
Its history dates back to Nguyen Dynasty which ruled the country from 1802 until 1945. Construction of the pagoda was completed in 1847 by Venerable Thich Thanh Duc under the reign of King Tu Duc.
Due to the deteriorating structures, the pagoda underwent restoration in 1961 under Master Monk of Thich Tu Bach. Restoration work lasted until 2004.
One of the features of the pagoda that all wall surfaces and columns for both exterior and interior are stunningly decorated with nearly 30 tons of broken porcelain pieces, including chipped plates, bowls and vases, making it the only porcelain pagoda in HCMC.
According to Venerable Thich Hien Duc, the supports are stuck with porcelain pieces in blue, red, white and yellow colors in order to convey a personal philosophy to people of all ages.
In 2007, the place was also acknowledged by the Vietnam Record Book Center as Vietnam’s largest temple made of ceramic pieces.
What makes the sacred site more special in the modern city is two candles weighing 1,800 kg each and measuring 3.4 meters in height, which were recognized as the heaviest and largest in Vietnam in 2005.
The pagoda has now become one of the most-visited religious destinations in the city and attracts a large number of Buddhists and tourists on full-moon days or during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.
Tong A Phu, a 70-year-old resident who has devoted more than 30 years to bicycle repair service at the foot of Chanh Hung Bridge, told the Daily that An Phu Pagoda is a time witness of the history and development of HCMC. Despite undergoing several restoration and repairs after more than one century of existence, the place still maintains its original architecture and historical values.
“Whenever I have free time or on the 15th day of each month, I always drop by the pagoda to burn incense and find peace for my soul in a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere,” Phu added.