Visiting Khmer pagodas is not only a serene getaway, but also a fascinating way to peek into the lives of a Khmer Buddhist, a solitary culture at the heart of the Mekong Delta. Among these pagodas, Chen Kieu (also known as SroLoun pagoda) is one with the most unique architecture.
Chen Kieu or Sa Lon pagoda is located in Da Tam commune, around 12 km from Soc Trang City
Located 10km from SocTrang City, the pagoda is on the way from SocTrang to Bac Lieu Province, about 230km from Ho Chi Minh City.
According to Trinh Tien, a member of the pagoda’s management board, the pagoda was erected in 1815 in a spacious area with lots of trees. It was damaged by war but was renovated in 1969. During the rebuilding, due to a lack of construction materials, monks came up with the inspiration of calling for donations of bowls and plates from local people for use in decorating the main building.
Chen Kieu Pagoda is also carved with beautiful patterns of the image of Haloman, the Goddess of hawks and lion statues in an area of green, ancient trees contributing to the tranquil beauty of the pagoda. The pagoda’s altar has 20 Buddhist statues in different positions and its library has a collection of Buddhist scriptures written on palm leaves, some new and some dating back hundreds of years.
In the residence of the pagoda there is a set of chairs and a bed made from ebony, donated by the family of Tran Trinh Huy, commonly known as Cong Tu Bac Lieu, son of one of the richest families in Bac Lieu Province in the first years of the 20th century.
Bowls and plates combined with Japanese tiles add bright colours to the pagoda
Plates are also used to decorate pillars inside the pagoda
Sacred animals are carved and decorated with ceramic pieces