Discovering Khmer culture at Kal Bo Pruk Pagoda

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For Khmer people, a pagoda is considered their spiritual house and sheet-anchor. Kal Bo Pruk Pagoda, in An Giang Province, is not only the get-together place for residents but also the sanctuary for them to worship Buddha, pray for good health and luck as well as good harvests and peace in their souls. It is said to be one of the most beautiful pagodas in the area.

 

A view of Kal Bo Pruk Pagoda in An Giang Province. (Photo: SGT)
A view of Kal Bo Pruk Pagoda in An Giang Province. (Photo: SGT)

Kal Bo Pruk, meaning a seasoned tree in the Khmer language, was renovated in 2002. It was built in 1816 on an area of 26, 000 square meters at the foot of Ba The Mountain, Oc Eo Town, in Thoai Son District. The pagoda looks distinguished, with its walls and pillars carved with many bas-reliefs and patterns featuring Khmer culture and Buddhist legends.

The pagoda is highlighted by a curved peak and meticulously and elegantly decorated roof. The sanctum has walls made of granite and many wooden doors and windows on the sides. The pagoda’s beauty is also reflected in the bright yellow of its amphitheater which is 50 meters long and 10 meters wide. The stairs to the amphitheater may scare tourists with images of Nara snakes which have five heads.
Vietnameasytravel.com's tips: You should join in the Mekong delta Vietnam tours so that you can have time to experience the Kal Bo Pruk.
As do other Khmer pagodas, Kal Bo Pruk Pagoda holds many festivals throughout the year. The most special event is the annual mountain-building festival, in April, at Khmer new year. Local Khmer people hold ethnic artistic performances at the pagoda, especially building miniature mountains from sand. They stay there for three days to protect their sand mountains. This activity, considered a penance of pilgrims, is related to a legend. Once upon a time there was a man who killed many animals. To show his penance, he made miniature mountains in the hope of reviving dead animals’ souls.
 

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