Experience spiritual tourism in Khanh Hoa

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Ponaga Tower, Long Son Pagoda, Suoi Do Pagoda, and Kito King Cathedral are spiritual tourist attractions that tourists can visit when coming to Khanh Hoa.

Ponagar Tower Nha Trang

Ponagar Tower is about 2 km from Nha Trang city center, located on a small hill. The word Ponagar in the Cham language means “motherland”. The building was built between the 7th and 13th centuries. The tower worships the goddess Po Ina Nagar – the god who created the Earth, water, trees and food, the origin of life.

The overall architecture has three areas: Gate Tower area, Mandapa (vestibular area) and finally the temple tower area. Experiencing many ups and downs of history, now there are only 5 buildings left in Mandapa and temples.

Overall Ponagar Tower.  Photo: Alamy
Overall Ponagar Tower. Photo: lamy

Mandapa is the Tien Dinh area with 4 rows of columns with 10 large pillars inside and 12 small pillars outside. Previously, this position was the place to prepare offerings to the gods before the ceremony. To go up to offer incense, visitors have to go through steep steep stairs. The ancients believed that, in order to meet the goddess, people had to overcome challenges. It is an homage to the god of the sky and the sea.

The second area is the temple tower, formerly there are 6 architectures, but now there are only 4 including: Northeast tower, South tower, Southeast tower and Northwest tower. The Southeast Tower is the main tower, the highest (23m), placing the statue of Goddess Po Ina Nagar, the two sides are the altars of Co and Uncle. Each architectural line has spiritual meanings that the Cham people want to engrave, showing their worship to the gods.

Long Son Pagoda

This is a hundred-year-old ancient temple, built in 1886 and named Dang Long Tu. Over time, after many restorations, Long Son still retains the unique sculptural features from the ancient times.

Long Son Pagoda is also known as the White Buddha Temple. There is a statue of Kim Than Phat To, carved in a zazen posture on the Buddha platform, built in 1963. The statue was recognized by the Vietnam Guinness record as “the largest outdoor Buddha statue in Vietnam”, with a degree of height. The height of the statue is 14 m and from the ground up is 24 m.

Statue of Kim Than Buddha.  Photo: Tran Quynh
Statue of Kim Than Buddha. Photo: Tran Quynh

To visit Kim Than Phat To, visitors from all over the world need to pass 193 steps. At the 44th step is the second largest statue of the temple – the statue of Buddha entering Nirvana. The statue is made of marble, 15 m long, 5 m high, behind is a relief of 49 disciples of Buddha gathered on the day of Buddha’s death.

Long Son campus is more than 3,000 m2, the main hall is more than 1,500 m2. The place stipulates that guests must wear long pants to visit, in order to keep the majesty of the Buddha’s door.

Cam Ranh Snail Pagoda

Oc Pagoda, also known as Tu Van Pagoda, built in 1968, is located in the center of Cam Ranh city, about 60 km south of Nha Trang.

The most prominent feature of Oc Pagoda is Bao Tich tower built of coral stone, 39 m high. The first floor of the tower is for visitors to visit, the second floor is a place to worship Buddha. The tower has a sophisticated structure with 49 pyramidal sub-towers on the outside, in each sub-tower there is a statue of Buddha with thousand hands and thousand eyes. The eight doors represent the “Eighth Path”.

The decorative patterns in the tower are all carved and connected from snail shells and seashells. To get this work, the monks took 5 years to do.

Bao Tich Tower in Oc Pagoda.  Photo: vietpictures
Bao Tich Tower in Oc Pagoda. Photo: vietpictures

After visiting Bao Tich tower, visitors can go to the road leading to Hell 500m long. The path goes underground, the space is darkening, the air is damp, the landscape is murky. On the way, there are 12 placards recording human crimes in the world, admonishing people not to do evil but to live honestly and create merit.

The last area visitors can visit is Bat Nha Hoa Vien. Here, many ancient trees are planted with flowers and plants, and statues of animals made from snail shells are placed, consistent with the typical architecture.

Cathedral of Christ the King

The Cathedral Church of Christ the King is known by the locals with many names such as Nha Trang Church, Nga Sau Church, Stone Church, Mountain Church. The project is located on the top of Hoang Lan hill, at the beginning of Nguyen Trai street intersecting with Thai Nguyen street (Intersection 6). The church started construction on 1928, completed in 1933. To create a ground on the top of Bong mountain, 12m high, when building, people had to use about 500 landmines.

The work is built according to the Western Catholic Gothic architecture with high and wide arches, facing the sky. The steeple is high in the middle, inside hangs 3 bells, outside is a large clock, four faces rotate in four directions.

Inside the Stone Church.  Photo: Nha Trang today
Inside the Stone Church. Photo: Nha Trang today

Inside the church, the space is large and airy, divided into the sanctuary area and the area behind the sanctuary with a pure and dignified look. The windows are Holy paintings, made from stained glass, making the space of the Cathedral filled with light.

Visitors here should pay attention to the holiday time so as not to affect the dignified atmosphere. The main ceremony time of Nha Trang Cathedral on weekdays is from 4:45 am and 5 pm. Only Sunday is at 5:00, 7:00, 9:30, 15:30, 16:30 and 18:30. Each ceremony lasts about 1 hour.

Suoi Do Pagoda

Located at an altitude of 200 m, on the west side of Hoang Nguu mountain, about 30 km from the city center, the pagoda with its red roof stands out among the green nature. Coming here, visitors can be immersed in the natural scenery with mountains, forests, lakes, waterfalls and murmuring streams flowing through each rocky crevice, mixed with the sound of birds, creating a feeling of peace and tranquility.

After climbing hundreds of steep steps on Hoang Nguu mountain, visitors will see two paths leading to two pagodas in the Suoi Do Pagoda complex: Quan Am Son Tu on the left and Pho Da Son Tu on the right.

Suoi Do Pagoda is located in the middle of majestic mountains.  Photo: bazantravel
Suoi Do Pagoda is located in the middle of majestic mountains. Photo: bazantravel

Quan Am Son Tu is famous for its statue of Quan Am Buddha looking down on Nha Trang city. The main hall of the worshiping Buddha Quan Am, on the right is the temple of Ngu Mau – Kim, Moc, Thuy, Hoa, Tho. On the left is the shrine to worship the Holy Mother Thien YA Na. Puta Son Tu is a place to worship Buddha, the Master Amitabha.

Behind the Puta Pagoda, there is a path leading to the Tien Well located on the top of the mountain. The well is so deep that you can’t see the bottom, there is water all year round, it never dries up. The water in the well is cool and clear, flowing down the rocky slope, forming small streams.

On Ba’s days, January 8, 18, and 28 of the lunar calendar, Khanh Hoa people often come here to celebrate, offer prayers and pray for all things to be favorable and peaceful.

Photo: Internet (Vinlove.net)

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