Xa Loi Pagoda is a large pagoda and also a relic at the city level of Ho Chi Minh City, lying at the corner of Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street, District 3 with the huge precinct of 2,500 square kilometres.
The history of construction
The pagoda was started to build on August 5th 1956, following the drawing of the architects Nguyen Van Duong and Do Ba Vinh. And the engineers Du Ngoc Anh and Ho To Thuan were responsible for the construction site. The pagoda building then was finished on May 2nd 1958.
The pagoda was established to worship the Great Buddha and was called with the name "Xa Loi" for short by common people. For that reason, in inaugurating day, the superior Buddhist monk has named it "Xa Loi Pagoda".
This pagoda used to be the main headquarters of the Association of Buddhology of Vietnam from 1951 to 1981. After that, from 1981 to May 1993, it became the headquarters of Buddhist Church of Vietnam (the second office).
The architectural beauty of Xa Loi Pagoda
Xa Loi Pagoda is the first pagoda of the city which was built in a new style of architecture with an altar above and an amphitheatre staying lower. The design of the pagoda includes a sanctum worshipping Buddha, an amphitheatre, a bell tower, a library, monks' quarters, purifying house, office, a room publishing prayers and bibles, guests' room and an area for travellers staying.
The pagoda worships a huge statue of The Sakyamuni which is made by the School of Fine Arts Bien Hoa. In 1969, the statue was restored with the whole body made of gold and has the shape like today. The sanctum at the upper floor is decorated with a set of big pictures including 15 pictures created by the professor Nguyen Van Long of the School of Fine Arts Gia Dinh. Those pictures have described the life of the Sakyamuni, from newborn time to the time of entering Nirvana.
The bell tower Xa Loi was opened in 1961. It is 32 metres high and has 7 floors. This is the highest bell tower of Vietnam. Inside the tower, on the highest floor, there hangs a great bell which weighs 2 tones and was casted according to the model of the bell in Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue.