Soc Trang is a province which has 03 groups: Kinh, Hoa and Khmer live together with traditional and unique culture and a lot of tourist destinations attracting many tourists to visit. Khleang pagoda in Soc Trang city is also an attractive destination for many domestic and foreign tourists every year.
Location of Khleang Pagoda
Khleang pagoda (or Kh’leang, Khleng) is an ancient buddhist temple of the Khmer pagoda system in the Southern area. This pagoda is at 53 Ton Duc Thang Street, Ward 6, Soc Trang City, Soc Trang province, Vietnam. This is an Architecture Arts monument in national level with Decision No. 84 / QD-BVHTT signed April 27, 1990 of the Ministry of Culture and Information.
According to the document was still kept at Kh’leang pagoda, in the early 16th century, from the capital Lo-vec, the king of Chan Lap country Ang Chan held an inspection trip to his far territory of the Hau River downstream. When the King visited Srok Kh’leang (Khmer means “land of warehouses”, Soc Trang today), he did not see any Buddhist temples, he ordered his officer who managed the land Mr Tac (transliterated from Khmer) have to build a pagoda for the people having the place of worship.
Obeying the king, in 1532, Mr Tac summoned believers and representatives of the “Soc” (Srok, which means land) to appeal to all who contributed possessions and labor to build Buddhist temple. After discussing, the Khleang pagoda (the name of the land) was started construction on December 16, 2076 in Buddhist calendar (1532 in the solar calendar).
After “wooden and thatch” temple was finished, Mr Tac held the conference to choose the abbot of the temple. The result was Thach Soc monk (61 years old, ordained for 40 years, who was practicing at Luang Bassac pagoda, in My Xuyen District, Soc Trang Province today) was chosen as abbot, and also was Me Kon (this position was a head of the regional monks).
So far, the first temple has no remaining trace. The main hall and Sa La today was built of tiles from the mid 16th century.
Architecture of Khleang Pagoda
All the works of the temple Khleang are located in a campus of 3,800 m2 with many palm trees that surrounded by the fence, and decorated with patterns, textures and vibrant colors with Khmer style. Brief mention of a few items:
Main gate is at Ton Duc Thang Street (eastbound). The front side of each pillars mounted dancer statue Ken naarr with outstretched hands against the roof, and the roof mounted three small towers. In addition, the temple also has an auxiliary gate on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street.
The main hall is located in the center with an area of 200 m2. The floor is higher than the ground almost 2 meters, three levels, each level has brick fence around. Four directions: East, West, South and North have doors. The roof was built in three levels modalities. The roof has dragon statue winding. On the top of pillars in the corridor surrounding have Krud statues prop their hands. Also, around the main hall was decorated with Teahu and Yeak statues.
Inside the main hall, the roof frame is supported by 12 big pillars (circumference of 1.10 m), built in the Corinthien style of Greece, painted by black color, dragon picture splendor yellow fishes. The door of the presbytery was made of wood engraving fight scene between fairy and monster (Yeak), on the frame was decorated with attention to detail.
Also, in the temple campus there are Sala, hall, house of abbots, monk houses, the tower contains ash, incinerator, etc…
From about 1916 (or 1918) until now, the temple was restored several times, most recently in 1994.
Worship in the pagoda
In the same of other temples of Theravada Buddhism Khmer sects, it is also the only Shakyamuni Buddha worship, and on the wall is a mural of this Buddha describes his life from birth until enlightenment.
In particular, among 45 Shakyamuni Buddha statues here, there is a 6.8 m high statue, statue torso is 2.7 meters high, sitting on a lotus, decorated magnificent flowers, leaves, fruits and trees surrounding. Behind the statue, there is a stele engraved Khmer writing: “Venerable Lieu Duong, 17th lineage, abbot from 1893 to 1928, created Buddha statues in 2460 of Buddhist calendar with donations of Mr. Lum Sun family “.
By Lai Tien