Giac Lam Pagode
"An authentic experience of life and religion in Vietnam. I enjoyed walking up the pagoda to get a view over the city. the grounds were nicely kept and the temple too is interesting. We saw a service in progress.
The tall white buddha is one I've seen in brochures, so was glad to have seen it in person. We were the only 'tourists' so this is always a plus."
The entrance of the Pagoda
A gleaming white statue of Quan The Am Bo Tat
The Giac Lam Pagoda - is probably the oldest temple in Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon. Probably it was built in 1744. The Giac Lam Pagoda is a fantastic cozy place in a quiet, park-like setting.
Immediately upon entering through the main gate is the garden, which is dominated by a large statue of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara under a tall and healthy bodhi tree, a species of which Prince Siddhartha sat under while gaining enlightenment to become Gautama Buddha. The
bodhi tree, which is in the garden was brought to Vietnam from Sri Lanka by the famous Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, who was known for his worldwide efforts in propagating the dharma.
The prayers are held daily 04:00 till 05:00, 11:00 till 12:00 and from 16:00 till 17:00 and 07:00 till 09:00.
On the left side of the temple is a series of stupas for each of the abbots who have presided over the temple. The complex is also the location of the stupa of the patriarch
The main building of the pagoda itself is of rectangular shape. The building has three main rooms: the main ceremonial hall, the dharma preaching hall and the meal hall. There are 98 pillars in the temple. The altars in the main ceremonial hall are made from precious wood, which makes it particularly sturdy.
The main altar is dominated by a statue of Amitabha Buddha. In front of Amitabha is a row of five seated figures: they are Sakyamuni Buddha and the four principal bodhisattvas. They form a group that is typical for Mahayanist pagodas of southern Vietnam.
In all, Giac Lam Pagoda has 112 historic statues, made from wood with gold coatings painted onto the exterior. In addition, there are seven bronze statues. All of the statues, tables and the relic tower are hand crafted. The oldest statue is one of Gautama Buddha on a lotus seat that dates back to the 18th century. It is made of wood and stands 65 cm tall and 38 cm wide and is located in the dharma hall.
The Nine Dragons altar in the main hall depicts the birth of Prince Siddhartha (Vesak) and is made of bronze. There are two sets of statues depict eighteen arahants.
The smaller set consists of statues totalling 57 cm in height; the base is 7 cm while the remainder is the base of the statue. These were created at the start of the 19th century. The larger set stands approximately 95 cm in total height, with a base of 15 cm, and was created in the early years of the 20th century. The two sets of arahant statues are placed on either side of the Buddha statue in the main building.
In the Pagode
"This is one of the oldest pagodas in HCMC. I went with my son and his partner. Prayers were in process so we had the opportunity to listen to the chanting and prayers which were beautiful. It is a large area with several buildings to explore as well as a lovely garden to sit quietly in and soak up the feeling of peace. Well worth the effort to get there.