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The Xa Loi Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

June 14th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Xa Loi Pagoda is the largest pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was built in 1956 and was the headquarters of Buddhism in South Vietnam. The Temple is located in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City and lies on a plot of 2500 square metres. The name Xa Loi is the Vietnamese translation for sarira, a term used for relics of Buddhists.

The pagoda is most well-known abroad for the Xa Loi Pagoda raids, in which the Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces loyal to Ngo Dinh Nhu, the brother of the Catholic President Ngo Dinh Diem, raided and vandalised the pagodas on August 21, 1963.

The temple includes a large statue of Gautama Buddha that was crafted by sculptors from Bien Hoa, a city just north of Ho Chi Minh City. The statue has been in its current state since 1969, when a gold coating was applied to it. In front of the statue is a shrine dedicated to the relics of the Buddha, with the relics being enshrined in a small stupa. The main ceremonial hall is adorned with large artistic depictions by Dr. Nguyen Van Long of the Gia Dinh Art School, which depict various scenes of the Buddha from his birth as Prince Siddhartha to his attainment of nirvana.

The bell tower of Xa Loi Pagoda was opened in 1961. The tower stands 32 m, has seven stories, and is the highest bell tower in Vietnam. On the highest level, there is a bell weighing two tonnes, which was cast in the model of the bell of Thien Mu Pagoda in Huế.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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