Visit the oldest 300-year-old Giac Lam Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City

Visit the oldest 300-year-old Giac Lam Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam is a popular destination for many tourists because of its unique and colorful beliefs. In particular, the ancient pagodas in Saigon are the spots that you should not ignore if you are one of them.

In your opinion, which pagoda has the largest life span here?

It is a 300-year-old pagoda - Giac Lam pagoda. Let's explore this special tourist site on your Glimpse of the South 12 days with us.

About Giac Lam pagoda

Giac Lam is one of the oldest pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City. This is the lineage of the Zen Buddhist Teja sect in Southern Vietnam.

The pagoda is located at 565 Lac Long Quan Street Ward 10, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City. It is recognized by the Ministry of Culture and Information as a national historical-cultural relic of Vietnam in 1988.

History of Giac Lam pagoda

The pagoda was raised by monk Ly Thuy Long, a Minh Huong, in the spring of 1744 during the reign of Lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat.

Giac Lam pagoda

Giac Lam pagoda

Initially, the pagoda was named Son Can (Son means mountains). It was later known as Cam Son because the pagoda was located on Cam Son mound.

In addition, the pagoda is also called Cam Dem because the layman Thuy Long had his own name, Cam, who sold knitting cushions. The locals call him Cam Dem (Dem means cushions).

In 1774, Zen Master Phat Y - Linh Nhac (abbot of Tu An pagoda) sent his disciple Zen Master To Tong - Vien Quang to the abbot of the pagoda and changed the pagoda's name to Giac Lam.

During the time of Zen master Vien Quang, Giac Lam pagoda became the first center of training on scriptures for monks in Gia Dinh and in the South.

By 1873, under the abbot of Zen Master Minh Khiem, the pagoda was also a place for printing, copying scriptures, carving woodblocks, laws, and producing some Buddhist books.

The architecture of Giac Lam pagoda

The pagoda has been renovated three times since 1798 and by early 1999, the pagoda completed its third restoration. Giac Lam pagoda now has a Three Chinese letter-shaped architecture consisting of three interconnected rows of houses, including the Main Hall, the lecture hall, and the Trai House (also known as Ong Giam's house).

It is decorated with thousands of ceramic plates

It is decorated with thousands of ceramic plates

The architectural structure of the pagoda is two folds of four-pillar houses arranged in the same style as the scallop shelf. The pagoda roof consists of 4 lines and the roof edges are straight.

In front of the main hall is a garden. Here, there is a small pagoda where the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara statue of the stone color is placed. Especially, in the garden, there is a big Bodhi tree donated by Mr. Narada (Sri Lanka) in 1953.

The main hall is a traditional folk house with a two-winged pavilion and four main pillars. Space inside the hall is quite wide and deep. There are 56 columns of dark brown that are bigger than human embrace. Every column is engraved with parallels and elaborate illumination.

In the main hall, it is arranged in the style of "worshiping the Buddha first and worshiping Ancestor after".

Behind the main hall is the Ancestor altar to worship the venerable monks who had presided over Giac Lam pagoda.

In front of the pagoda is a relics stupa with 7 hexagonal floors, facing north. The bottom floor houses the altar of the statue of Di Da Tam Ton. The next floors house many statues of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. The 7th floor is decorated with Cuu Long chandelier, and in the middle is the relics tower of Buddha Shakyamuni.

Furthermore, the pagoda also has 3 tomb towers and 119 statues (including 113 ancient statues) with many different materials (wood, copper, cement, plaster).

The unique feature of decorating the pagoda in the first half of the twentieth century and still being intact is that the pagoda has used 7,454 plates along the two sides of the Western hall, the Buddha Hall, the Ancestor tower, and the roofs, etc. Most of these decorative plates were made at ceramic establishments in Lai Thieu, Binh Duong.

Inside the pagoda

Inside the pagoda

The Vietnam Book of Records Center has set a record that Giac Lam Pagoda is the pagoda with the most decoration plate in Vietnam on November 30, 2007.

Festivals at Giac Lam pagoda

The full moon every month, especially the full moon in July, Bon Festival, January, Giac Lam pagoda operates big festivals to welcome Buddhist monks and nuns everywhere as well as visitors to the pagoda to pray for peace.

Instruction to move to Giac Lam pagoda

From Ho Chi Minh city, you can choose to take the bus to Giac Lam pagoda to save costs. You will take on bus route 38, starting from Van Don Secondary School (243 Hoang Dieu, Ward 8, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City).

Alternatively, you can take a taxi or catch a motorbike taxi to save time.

Giac Lam is one of the famous pagodas in Saigon, a place for you to learn about the architecture and history of Southern Buddhism from decades ago. In your visit to the pagoda, don't miss a chance to try top 10 fast-food brands in Saigon. For further information, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our website. If the article useful for you, please like and share it with others. Thank you.