Along with many other temples, Doi Pagoda (Bat pagoda) is also an important architectural work creating the characteristic of beliefs of Soc Trang people. After many years, the temple still retains its ancient character.
Location of Bat Pagoda
Bat Pagoda also called Ma Toc Pagoda (or Mahatup Pagoda). It’s located on Van Ngoc Chinh Street (with a signboard) in Ward 3, Soc Trang city. The reason for this special name is because the temple is the home of crowded bats. The temple is the only cultural space to worship Sakyamuni Buddha of the Khmer ethnic minority community in Soc Trang province.
Bat Pagoda’s History
According to the remaining ancient records. The temple built in 1569. It’s more than 440 years ago. Initially, the temple’s main temple was built only of bamboo leaves. Then rebuilt with bricks, roof tiles. In 1960, the pagoda was repaired in the main hall and until it was as beautiful as it today. The pagoda has undergone many renovation and renovation works.
In 2008, an unfortunate incident caused the temple to burn down the main hall. But it’s restored in April 2009.
In 2013, Chua Doi tourist area in Soc Trang was put into operation as a unique part of Mekong delta tours. Although the budget is not abundant. But the tourist area is opposite the pagoda gate with spacious parking, other services. Such as restaurants and electric cars… it’s more convenient for visitors.
Since 1999, Doi pagoda has been recognized as a national cultural and historical site. So far, the Soc Trang government is still considering policies to preserve and embellish it here to both educate the faith. And we try to promote Doi pagoda into a familiar tourist destination of the province.
Architecture of Doi Pagoda.
Bat Pagoda is an architectural complex consisting of: The main hall, Sala, the congregation of monks and followers, rooms of monks and abbots, towers for dead people, living rooms … All located in a large campus with many old trees, an area of about 04 hectares.
Although it is a space to worship Sakyamuni. But the architecture of Doi Pagoda in Soc Trang is still strongly influenced by Khmer culture. The temple stands out in the green space of trees thanks to its characteristic Khmer yellow hue.
The pagoda has roofs with tiled roofs, four heads of curved roofs are carved with Naga snake shape. There is a pointed spire on the top of the roof. Surrounding the main hall are pillars, each column has a fairy statue of Kemnar, clasping her hands in front of her chest…
Going deep into the sanctuary. We will see the monolithic Buddha image on a lotus tower about 2m high. Equally impressive is a statue depicting Buddha riding on Muchalinda snake.
Come here you will have the opportunity to thoroughly understand the life of the Buddha through paintings depicting the Buddha, from birth until the enlightenment and entering Nirvana. The sutras recorded on the leaves of the palm tree Rare and precious artifacts with special values of belief culture of the Southern region are also kept in the solemn grounds of the pagoda. Tour guides are sure to explain about Bat Pagoda to help you understand more things.
Visit Bat Pagoda one round, visitors can rest in the row of chairs under the cool old tree shade. In the precinct, there are also many stupas containing remains of monks in the pagoda and Sa La synagogue with a communal house-style architecture, which is a place of rest and study of monks …
Bat species at Doi Pagoda in Soc Trang
Coming to Doi pagoda, it is really not advisable to ignore the stories of bats making the name of the pagoda in the heart of the people. The temple grounds have many star trees and oil – the shelter of thousands bats. Every afternoon, thousands of bats come back to the pagoda to cover the sky. Different from the fearless psychology of our bats, the monks here think that the bat rushing to the pagoda is a blessing to the Buddha’s house for this temple so they are very protective of the bats.
It seems that the bat understands the hearts of the Buddhist. It’s make people so strange, not a single fruit in the garden has been looked at by them. When moving, they also “know the idea” to fly around rather than flying straight through the main palace roof of the temple.
Bats are active mainly at night, around 6pm. They fly away to feed and return around 5 o’clock the next morning. Although in Soc Trang also has many other pure temple with shady trees, but only seven teams selected the Bat Pagoda Soc Trang habitation thing still seems mysterious. They just perched on the trees in the temple compound, absolutely not parked outside.
So far, there are not any explanation or hypothesis given to answer this phenomenon. Bat Pagoda with such mysteries is transmitted to each other, making people excited to visit this temple to witness the real damage.
5-hog pigs legends
Those who are observant also recognize Bat pagoda in Soc Trang province with strange tombs. A pig is drawn on each grave. These are 5-hog pigs (pigs usually have only 3 claws) raised by monks in the temple, and when they die they are buried here.
According to the Khmer, 5-hog pigs are the “essence” of humans. Bring the meaning of spirituality, so the family must raise this pig. It will encounter unhappiness, chiseled by this “fine” pig. Therefore, from more than 20 years ago, 5-hog pigs were sent to Doi pagoda by looking after and caring.
If you want to see this animal once, monks are ready to take you to the back gate of the temple to visit the 5-pig pigs at the farm.
How to go to Doi Pagoda?
From the city center, to find the address of Soc Trang Bat Pagoda, you can move in the following direction:
Going south about 800m to Hai Ba Trung Street intersecting with Tran Hung Dao, or toward the road on April 30th
- Move on Tran Hung Dao Street about 800m to get to the roundabout
- At the roundabout, take the second exit to Le Hong Phong and drive for another 850 meters
- Turn right on Van Ngoc Chinh about 1.0 km to reach Doi Pagoda
Doi Pagoda in Soc Trang is the place where the city’s Buddhist monks and nuns perform ceremonies during the year. Unique Khmer architecture and hidden mysteries at this temple have dragged tens of thousands of tourists each year. Are you ready for the “adventure” of the most unique temple in Soc Trang?
Image Sources: Internet