Discover the secret of Bac Ai Pagoda, the oldest ancient pagoda in Kon Tum

Bac Ai Pagoda is one of Kon Tum’s oldest pagodas, even though Kon Tum is famous for its nature reserves, eco-tourism areas, nationally ranked historical relics or Central Highlands gong culture. Although many records have been recorded in history books, when visiting the temple, it will still have a unique and memorable feature for those who visit this place for the first time.

 

Entrance gate of the temple (Photo ST)

Entrance gate of the temple (Photo ST)

The pagoda was built in 1932, designed and built by Mr. Vo Chuan, who was the Director of Kon Tum province at that time. This place is associated with a story in the mid-19th century. 1931 was the year that the provinces in The Central region suffers from continuous drought, frequent crop failures, and famine everywhere due to food shortages, making people extremely miserable. Wanting to escape this miserable situation, people from the provinces of Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, and Binh Dinh migrated in late 1931 and early 1932 to the highlands of Kon Tum province. Tum today. Everyone hoped to escape this hunger, so everyone migrated, but up to 70% died of starvation along the way and only 30% reached that land. Because it is still wild and lacks both residential and arable land, immigrants are forced to clear the forest to have land for farming, but who knows that they will encounter many wild animals and dangerous cobra bites? many people died.

Entering the pagoda, you will first see the Tam Quan Quan Ngu gate (Photo ST)

Entering the pagoda, you will first see the Tam Quan Quan Ngu gate (Photo ST)

Witnessing that painful departure, Mr. Vo Chuan invited Mr. Hoang Thong – the head of Bach Sa Pagoda in Quy Nhon and the monks to go to Kon Tum to fast for 3 days to pray for the souls of those unjustly dead souls. He also requested to build a temple to worship Buddha and take refuge for the souls of the dead whose bodies could not be found and brought back to the country, called Linh Son. Vo Chuan drew up the design for the pagoda and together with the people cleared the jungle, took land to build the pagoda, the walls were made of bamboo blinds and the roof was covered with yin and yang tiles. And in 1990, it was restored by the Venerable Abbot Thich Chanh Quang.

The pagoda was given the sign

The pagoda was given the sign “Sac Tu Bac Ai Pagoda” by King Bao Dai in 1933 (Photo ST)

A peaceful corner of the temple (Photo ST)

A peaceful corner of the temple (Photo ST)

Bac Ai Pagoda Kon Tum In the past, the front was surrounded by a stream, but now it has been covered up, and behind is a dense forest with many large old trees. Not only did Mr. Vo Chuan stop at building the pagoda, he also recruited people to reclaim land to establish a residential area. around the pagoda area, is Vo Lam village today (the name comes from Vo which is the surname of Vo Chuan, the person who had the first contribution in establishing the village, Lam means forest). The north of the pagoda borders Ba Trieu street, the south borders Phan Chu Trinh street, the east borders Tran Phu street and the west borders Mac Dinh Chi street. In the past, King Bao Dai himself attended and conferred the sign “Sac Tu Bac Ai Pagoda” when the pagoda was inaugurated in early 1933. Now the sign is still red and the golden letters remain the same, seeing the pagoda approaching 40 acres of fertile fields, when harvested, are distributed to the poor and suffering. Any believer or religion can ask for rice, so the king ordained the name Bac Ai, meaning compassion. vast, regardless of religion, Kinh people, Upper people.

The pagoda was designed by Mr. Vo Chuan, Director of Kon Tum province and together with Kinh people and ethnic minorities, they explored the jungle hill to build the pagoda (Photo ST)

The pagoda was designed by Mr. Vo Chuan, Director of Kon Tum province and together with Kinh people and ethnic minorities, they explored the jungle hill to build the pagoda (Photo ST)

The overall architecture of the pagoda is built in the North-South direction, shaped like the letter Mon. When you first enter, you will see the Tam Quan gate, go straight to the main hall in the middle of the center with the left and right sides being Dong Lang and Tay Lang. Main hall of Bac Ai family pagoda Including 3 compartments and 2 wings, Co Lau is divided into 3 compartments: front hall, middle palace and upper palace. In this room, we worship Amitabha Tam Hon, Tam The Buddha, Hoa Ngem Tam Thanh, etc. All areas in the pagoda are tiled, built with brick walls and whitewashed, the ceilings are covered with fonts, rafters, and columns. Using precious woods such as rose, purple, and cassia, the skillful hands of Hue artisans carve intricate and elaborate lines. There is also a wooden pillar symbolizing the 7 lion heads of a Japanese officer who committed suicide in the temple yard at the end of World War II and a stele marking the child of French Captain Quenin.

Main hall of Bac Ai Pagoda (Photo ST)

Main hall of Bac Ai Pagoda (Photo ST)

Outside the main hall is Hoa Vien with many steles, tombs, towers, shrines worshiping Son Than, Bon Canh Emperor, Doan Quan and tru house. Due to restoration, there are only a few artifacts with artistic value such as the Statue of Avalokiteshvara, the Statue of the Three Holy Mothers made of cracked glazed ceramic, Hoang phi, parallel sentences, ordination box, treasure seal,… on display. displayed, while the worship statues have been covered with bright bronze so they cannot retain the ancient, pristine features of the past, even some sculptures such as flanking dragons and winding ropes are no longer there.

Statue of Guan Yin made of cracked glazed ceramic located in Hoa Vien (Photo ST)

Statue of Guan Yin made of cracked glazed ceramic located in Hoa Vien (Photo ST)

All areas in the temple are tiled, brick-walled and whitewashed (Photo ST)

All areas in the temple are tiled, brick-walled and whitewashed (Photo ST)

If you choose Kon Tum as the destination on your journey of discovery, in addition to the province’s famous tourist attractions, take the time to visit and learn more about a new place containing many ups and downs such as Bac Ai Pagoda To love and appreciate the traditional cultural values ​​of the country more!