A golden Buddha shrine in the Chantarangsay Pagoda, also known as Chandaransi (Moonlight), the first Khmer pagoda opened in Saigon in 1946, welcoming devout Buddhists to pray and meditate. The 4,500-square-meter pagoda, lying along the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal in District 3, has undergone seven restorations.
The Chantarangsay Pagoda is a religious and cultural haven for the Khmer people in the south of Vietnam. The pagoda also houses monks from Theravada sect, the most ancient branch of Buddhism.
The sanctum has two floors with four gates in the front, back and east side.
On the top of the sanctum are three golden stupas, which stand out from a distance.
The main entrance is decorated by delicate and skillfully made reliefs of Gautama Buddha.
Adhering to Theravada Buddhism, the pagoda worships the Gautama Buddha but not the East Asian Bodhisattva Guanyin or other gods. On the ceiling and four walls are pictures that depict the Gautama’s journey to Buddhahood and beyond.
Statues of Garuda and Naga, the legendary bird and snake that are deities in Buddhist and Hindu mythology, are found on many walls, pillars and roof of the pagoda.
Right next to the sanctum is a shrine that holds the earthly remains of monks and other Buddhist devotees.
The pagoda is not too big, but visitors can feel its tranquil vibe amidst a bustling city.
Many sacred festivals and holy days in the Buddhist tradition are celebrated and commemorated in the Chatarangsay Pagoda, like Choi Chnam Thmay, Buddha’s Birthday and Ok Om Bok. Chantarangsay also houses many Khmer monks who visit or study here.