Jade Emperor Pagoda
"This pagoda is my safe place. I live in this city and I frequently come here. It is a fantastic place to find peace, serenity and to gather your thoughts. I find that the people who don't like this place are used to tourist trap pagodas rather than authentic pagodas. Inside it is beautiful a maze of hidden shrines where you can explore and contemplate. I wonder about the turtles and the welfare standards though."
The entrance of the Pagoda
The Jade Emperor Pagoda - was built in 1909 in honor of the highest Taoist deity (the Jade Emperor or King of Heaven, Ngoc Hoang). It is one of the most spectacular atmospheric pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City.
The outside of the pagoda is modest, but it fits into its surroundings. When you're through the gate, you enter into the shady courtyard of the pagoda. It's here an oasis of tranquility compared to the busy street outside. The most part of the courtyard is empty except for a couple of large bowls for incense and a few lions that guard the front door. The Jade Emperor Pagoda is also known as the Turtle Pagoda. In the courtyard you can see a kind of pond filled with turtles. The pond is about four meters long and two meters wide and completely filled with turtles, some of which have an inscription on the back.
Inside the pagoda filled with images of elusive divinities and grotesque heroes. The pungent smoke of incense (Huong)
fills the air, obscuring the beautiful carvings. The roof is covered with extensive tile work and temple statues, depicting characters from both the Buddhist and Taoist tradition. These are made of stiff paper mache.
Inside the main building are two particularly violent and threatening Taoist figures. On the right is a four meter high statue of the general who defeated the Green Dragon (pictured below his feet). On the left is the general who defeated the White Tiger, also appears under his feet.
Believers are sitting in front of the inviolable Jade Emperor, draped in luxury clothing and shrouded in a dense was incense. He is flanked by his guardians, the Big Four Diamonds (guards) who are so called because they are as hard as diamond.
On the left side of the Jade Emperor is a door that leads to another room. On the right is a semi-enclosed area where you see Thanh Hoang, head of the Hell; his left is his red horse.
Women stand in line for the City God. who has a hat with Chinese characters. In an enchanting ritual they put money in a box, then rub a piece of red paper from his hand. Finally they keep this piece of paper above a candle flame.
On the other side of the wall is a room, in which ceramic figures of 12 women are sitting, surrounded by children dressed in colorful clothes. The women are sitting in two rows of six. Each of the women an example of a human characteristic, good or bad (as in the case of women, drinking alcohol from a bottle). Each figure represents a year in the 12-year-old Chinese astrological calendar. The head of all the women in this room is Kim Hoa Thanh Mau. From Above is a hall to Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy. Opposite is a portrait of that Ma, the bearded Indian founder of Zen Buddhism.
"A really interesting temple offering an escape from the frenetic energy of Ho Chi Minh city. Inside there are several rooms, all atmospheric and heavy with incense and be prepared to have respect for those worshipping inside. The garden with its turtle pool, while not beautiful, offers a shady place to rest, contemplate or people watch. Definitely worth visiting and you probably won't need more than forty five minutes "
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