Pleiku is not only unspoiled with wild sunflower, with fog, with Sea Lake …, but also in the mountain town, there is a spiritual architectural ensemble which contributes to the attraction of this land with visitors coming to the mountain town of Pleiku, that is the architectural ensemble of Minh Thanh pagoda.
The pagoda is located at 14A Nguyen Viet Xuan Street, Phu Hoi Ward, Pleiku city, Gia Lai Province. About 2 km from the center of the city of Pleiku (Gia Lai), Minh Thanh Pagoda is a Buddhist architectural complex located on the vast rolling hills in the southwest of the city. This is the pagoda which has the most unique architecture in the Highlands, it is not only the pride of the people in the mountain city, but also is an attraction not to be missed by visitors.
In 1964, the pagoda began to be built by Venerable Thich Giac Dao. Since then, the pagoda has became a place of worship and incense offering of Buddhist in the region. Experiencing the changes of history, the architecture of the pagoda began deteriorating. Thus, in 1997, the pagoda was started to be restored and constructed new sections.
After 10 years of restoration, Minh Thanh pagoda is likes wearing the new shirt with unique and majestic architecture like the main hall of 16 meters high, po mu wooden ceilings (type of wood which is well known in the forests of Highland region).
Especially, the pagoda doors are made of wood with the sophisticated relief of four heavenly kings (Tu Dai Thien Vuong). With a height of 6 m, a thickness of 4 inches, which is considered as one of the largest doors in Vietnam.
Inside the main hall is the 6m long and 1.2m high Buddhist altar. Four statues of Thousand-armed and Thousand-eyed Avalokiteshvara eyes with a height of 8 m, 3.5 m long are placed at 4 corners of the hall. The wall is decorated with more than 3,000 statues. In particular, there are 18 Arhat statues made entirely from wood of jackfruit, each is 1.3 m high and weighs nearly 300kg, all of them are gold plated, which is so harmonious and beautiful.
In front of the Main Hall, in the two sides of left and right, there are two towers: The bell tower and Thap To khai son (worshipping the ancestor who discovered the area).
At the center of the yard stands the Lien Tri lake, a large lotus pond of nearly 750m2, in the middle of the lake, there is Amitabha statue of 7m high made of white stone with majesty and static standing in between heaven and earth sculpted by Danang artists. In front of the lake, there is a incense burner of 4 tons weight and 4.5 meters high. Stepping up 30 stone steps, visitors are surprised at the architectural beauty of the pagoda.
The right side of the complex stands a three-storey tower, where late superior monk Thich Giac Dao (or monk Nam), the founder of the pagoda in 1970 is worshipped. The left hand of the pagoda is the two-story bell tower with two bells, in which the heaviest bell weights 3 tons and the area has an area of thousands of square meters. The other works living room… with a winding dragon on the roof, each piece of fish scale tiles are arranged meticulously, each pattern is carved skillfully, meticulously on the walls.
Not being an ancient work, but with unique architecture, majestic beauty, Minh Thanh Pagoda annually welcomes thousands of visitors coming to go sightseeing and offer incense. In the afternoon sun in the misty mountain town, the echo of the pagoda bell in the distance is as bringing peace to the hearts of visitors to the pagoda.
Kneeling in front of the Buddha in a silent space, visitors feel like they fully shake off the dust to step to the Penglai, nirvana world as Venerable Thich Tam Man once said: “Meditation is the accumulation. Meditation is not sitting at one place, but it comes into life from eating, sleeping, resting …We mediate when standing, sitting, lying… and we can not meditate with a complex mind.”
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