Among 600 Khmer Theravada pagodas in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, Doi Pagoda (called Bat Pagoda in English) can be dubbed as one of the most beautiful pagodas, featuring typical Khmer architecture.
Doi Pagoda features typical Khmer architecture
Built in 16th century in the southern province of Soc Trang, Doi Pagoda is also a museum of Khmer culture and art, which can easily be recognized by its pagoda gate, main hall and monks’ accommodations. In Khmer language, Doi Pagoda means Seray Tocho Mahatup. People called Doi Pagoda as it is home to thousands of bats.
Let’s discover the special architecture of Doi Pagoda. It reflects the unique architecture of the Khmer people with engraved patterns of lotus leaves. The pagoda lies in the centers of a 3-ha orchard. Reaching the pagoda, tourists can feel peaceful and relaxed as all facilities of Doi Pagoda appear harmonious with their surroundings. The bright, shiny yellow color that almost completely covers the entire pagoda may give deep impression on each tourist right from the entrance gate. The four corners of the pagoda roof are engraved with Naga cobras and there is a tower rising high in the middle. Statues of Kemnar maidens with hands held chest-high in a welcoming gesture to all visitors are to support pillars along the corridor surrounding the main hall of the pagoda. Additionally, all walls in Doi Pagoda are sophisticatedly decorated with 28 paintings, reflecting Buddha’s life from his birth until he died. Entering the hall, tourists can catch a statue of Buddha sitting high on a lotus throne. According to Khmer religious, the main hall is the most important place in a pagoda, which is for worshipping only Buddha. Around the main hall are stupas containing relics of monks and houses for monks. Representing Khmer architectural values and traditions, Doi Pagoda has become a place for Khmer people to come and join religious activities and festivals as well as to enjoy cultural performances.
Bats are sleeping on fruit trees
Every tourist to this pagoda will be interested in the story of thousands of bats, living in Doi Pagoda’s garden filled with ancient trees and younger fruit trees. Local people said that although the bats live in the fruit trees, they never eat any fruit in the pagoda. And when the darkness comes, they leave their shelters for food elsewhere.