Pagoda architecture in Kon Tum

The pagoda is always built on land that captures the sacred air of heaven and earth, high up, beautiful land, with a stream or pond in front, usually facing the South, the direction to develop good minds.. It is easy to see that the architecture of pagodas in Kon Tum is influenced by the pagoda architecture of the Central region, especially Hue pagodas, which are often built spread out on a flat surface according to the width of space, paying little attention to height. brings a feeling of harmony with nature and the surrounding landscape. This is completely different from the architecture of Southern temples, which focus on height, multiple floors, and layers to enhance both status and scale. The structure of Kon Tum pagoda is usually in the style of Nhat, Dinh, Cong, Khau, etc. The daily paths at the pagoda are small gateways, located on one side. The three-entrance gate of the pagoda is not too massive, decorated with elegant and gentle motifs and is only open during festivals. Right in the middle of the three gates is the main axis leading to the front hall and main hall, across the temple’s garden. The temple is always open to all living beings, the place of worship is never blocked. Surrounding both sides of the pagoda are green trees all year round, creating a feeling of peace and relaxation for Buddhist monks, nuns and tourists when visiting.

Through many ups and downs of history and changes due to the impact of war, climate, the current scale and architecture of Kon Tum pagoda has changed dramatically, still retaining its basic traditions, being the birthplace of Kon Tum. serious religious activities. Talking about the architecture of Kon Tum pagoda, we can mention typical representatives such as: Bac Ai pagoda, Phuoc Lam pagoda, Trung Khanh pagoda,…

1. Bac Ai Ancestral Temple

Bac Ai Ancestral Pagoda is the earliest Buddhist establishment in Kon Tum province, recognized by the Chairman of Kon Tum Provincial People’s Committee as a provincial-level historical and cultural relic according to Decision No. 1/QD-CTUB dated August 8. January 2009. In 1932, Bac Ai Pagoda was started to be built by Mr. Vo Chuan, who designed and built it. In 1933, the pagoda held a very solemn inauguration ceremony and was visited by King Bao Dai. price, decoration and a sign of bricks with the words “Sac Tu Charity Tu”. In 1968, due to fierce historical events, the pagoda was hit by artillery. Venerable Thich An Chanh restored a number of buildings such as replacing wooden bamboo beams, brick and mortar walls, and tiled roofs in the pavilion. Main hall, ceiling covered with backdrops.

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Bac Ai Ancestral Temple

Looking at the overall architecture, Bac Ai Patriarch Pagoda was built in the North-South direction, in Mon style, opening for that direction is the three-entrance gate, leading to the main hall in the center and the left and right sides are Dong Lang and Dong Lang. Tay Lang. The main hall was built according to Hue pagoda architecture, consisting of 3 compartments and 2 roofs, the ancient floor is divided into 3 compartments: Front Hall, Middle Palace and Upper Palace. On the top of the roof, there is an embossed image of “Two dragons flanking the sun”, the roof is covered with scale tiles, and the walls are brick and mortar according to traditional folk techniques of the time. Most of the rafters, rafters, and columns are built with precious woods such as purple star, rosewood, and bamboo that are extremely sturdy, elaborately carved, meticulously cut, and have sharp edges, made by skilled hands. skillfully created by Hue artisans. In the main hall, the system of worship statues is arranged from low to high, first is the statue of Tam The Buddha; Amitabha Tam Ton; Hoa Nghiem Tam Thanh,…In addition to the Hoa Vien of Bac Ai Pagoda, there is also a complex of steles, tomb towers, a shrine worshiping the Emperor Bon Canh, a Son Than shrine, a Doan Quan and a tru house. Through many restorations, Bac Ai Ancestral Pagoda’s original architectural features have been changed, and some unique sculptures such as flanking dragons and winding ropes are no longer there. The system of worship statues is covered with a layer of bright bronze, unable to retain its pristine beauty. However, a number of precious artifacts with visual artistic value such as the Statue of the Three Holy Mother Goddesses, the Guan Yin statue made of crackle-glazed ceramic, the Hoang Phi, the Couplet, the Ordination box, the Seal,… are still on display. , a subtle trace of time.

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The motif “Two dragons flanking the sun” on the three-entrance gate of Bac Ai Ancestral Pagoda
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Flower garden of Bac Ai Ancestral Temple

Bac Ai Ancestral Pagoda is truly a religious and religious architectural work with the artistic architectural style of the Nguyen Dynasty, simulating Hue architecture.

2. Trung Khanh Pagoda

Located at 288 Tran Hung Dao, Kon Tum city, Trung Khanh Pagoda has a very beautiful location: surrounded by flat land, facing the south overlooking the Dak Bla river, the southeast is the commercial center. Trung Khanh Pagoda was built in the 40s of the twentieth century, as a place of meditation for the people of Trung Luong village. At first, the people contributed their efforts to use bamboo to build the pagoda. In 1950, Abbot Thich Hue Chieu built it spaciously and named it ‘Trung Khanh Pagoda’.

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Stepping up the three-entrance steps, we will see the temple grounds with a small lotus pond, in the middle of the lake is an open-air statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. In front of the statue is an incense burner, where the incense bowl and offerings are placed. Looking from the outside, Trung Khanh Pagoda has a majestic appearance, with a magnificent and majestic main hall layout. The area of ​​Trung Khanh Pagoda is not large but it is built very beautifully with a harmonious yet majestic architecture. The rows of columns in the large temple create a feeling of confidence and trust for those who go to the temple. Parallel parallel sentences, epitaphs, or the names of the donors were all recorded and treasured by ancestors. The way the roof is built is identical, the top of the roof displays two dragons flanking the fire chakra; The wall between the two roofs represents the story of Buddha. The surrounding walls are decorated with paintings and harmonious couplets, creating a warm, intimate and dignified space. The center of the main hall is a spacious and square ceremony place, demonstrating that their teachings of humanity are open and vast, not restrictive or discriminatory.

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“Two dragons flanking a fire” motif on the three-entrance gate of Trung Khanh pagoda

3. Phuoc Lam Pagoda

Phuoc Lam Pagoda follows the Northern sect, located at 42 Mac Dinh Chi, Kon Tum city. Built in 1963, it is a “Buddhist hall” so people in the area have a place to worship and express their wishes.

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The pagoda faces south, built on a high mound, arranged in the style of the letter “Dinh”, designed in the style of the Buddha’s predecessors and ancestors, the main room worships the Tam The Buddha statue, the back room worships Patriarch Dat Ma and The pagoda’s lead pillars have passed away, on both left and right sides worship the souls of Buddhist believers who were sent to the pagoda to enjoy the peace of Buddha’s door. With influence from Hue pagoda architecture, the pagoda was built with emphasis on width, yin and yang roof tiles, and brick walls. The Tam Quan gate is built of concrete, with a reincarnation wheel mounted on the top of the roof. The roof, walls, doors, columns, with reasonable distances inside and out, look very stylized, but still majestic. In 2003, the pagoda was restored to the main hall, from wood to iron and glass, expanding the accommodation grounds, making it convenient for visitors to come to the pagoda. The statue of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva is placed in the center of the temple’s garden as if observing and blessing sentient beings with a peaceful and happy life. Every year, on the occasions of Buddha’s Birthday, Vu Lan Festival, etc., Buddhist monks and nuns from their own religion come to attend the Buddha’s ceremony to recite sutras and pray in large numbers.

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The wheel of reincarnation at the top of the Three Entrance Gate of Phuoc Lam Pagoda

4. Hong Tu Pagoda

Hong Tu Pagoda was founded by Venerable Thich Duc Thien in 1958, located at 249 Tran Hung Dao, Kon Tum city. At first, the pagoda was built with wooden planks and pillars, facing north. Under the impact of war, in 1968 the pagoda was destroyed and completely collapsed. In 1972, the pagoda was newly built, very solid, facing south, with Dinh architectural style, pre-Buddhist and post-Buddhist. The three-entrance gate is decorated with the image of “Two dragons flanking the sun”. In the center of the temple yard, there is a large top used to burn incense. On both sides of the main hall there are beautiful stone unicorn statues, on the left is the statue of Dharma Protector, on the right is the statue of Tien Dien. Entering the main hall, there is a statue of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva holding the heavenly eye, followed by a set of Shakyamuni Buddha statues on both sides. In the center of the Main Hall, there is a statue of Sakyamuni Buddha sitting on a lotus throne, cast in bronze, weighing 1,000kg, 1.2m high, painted with red and gold. Behind the pagoda is the worship of Patriarch Bo De O Ma and the abbots who have passed away. On the left side of the main hall and behind the ancestral temple, there are two statues of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, holding a jade vase with eyes slightly looking down as if wanting to save sentient beings. In the temple grounds, ancient Bodhi trees are planted, providing shade all year round, adding to the majesty of Hong Tu Pagoda.

The pagodas in Kon Tum are a piece of the puzzle in the historical process of this land. Although influenced by Hue pagoda architecture, each Kon Tum pagoda has its own characteristics with unique architecture, leaving a mark in the hearts of every Buddhist monk, nun and visitor. The pagoda is both a sacred place of worship and prayer for believers, guiding people to quiet moments, letting go of all worries and troubles of hustle and bustle life. Each pagoda is an architectural work for us to admire, enriching the rich history of Kon Tum architecture.

Ha Oanh