Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda

The Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda was built by the Chaozhou Chinese population of Ho Chi Minh City.

Hidden behind a sinister-looking gate, it is noteworthy for its gilded woodwork: a carved wooden boat hangs over the entrance and to the left is a large representation of Quan Cong's horse and groom. At the ornate altar, greet Quan Cong himself, to whom the temple is dedicated. 

Marvel at the door gods painted on the temple's front door. The statue of Ong Bon, the keeper of happiness and virtue, resides in a glass altar to the right of the main sanctuary. Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda is one of the oldest temples in Saigon. Built in the 19th century by HCMC's Chinese congregation, the pagoda is dedicated to Quan Cong, a deified general who lived during the Han Dynasty.

Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda is located at 678 Nguyen Trai in Saigon's Cho Lon in district 5 (Chinatown).

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Photo Story: Pagoda Charm

Vietnam is famous for its religious diversity, which includes Caodaism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism and Confucianism. If there is one religion that stands out from the rest, however, it’s Buddhism – and the pagodas have a lot to do with it.

It’d be impossible to completely understand Vietnamese culture without visiting these spiritual spots and getting a closer look at Vietnamese Buddhism’s deeply-ingrained spiritual traditions. The smell of incense lingers in the air, the dark colours creates a mysterious ambience and the numerous historical figures encapsulated in the intricately carved wall friezes make pagodas a truly special place to worship.

While temples (‘Đền) are used to worship emperors or national heroes, pagodas (Chùa) are exclusively reserved for worshiping Buddha. Throughout Vietnam, visitors will find hundreds of pagodas reflecting the historical Chinese influence through their ornamentation and architectural design (three entrance gates, bell tower, garden courtyards with bonsais, etc.).

We headed out to District 11 to visit two pagodas (Chùa Phụng Sơn and Chùa Khánh Vân Nam Viện) that have remained untouched over the years, showcasing both authenticity and tradition in equal shares.

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