It was 1955 when the Vien Giac Pagoda was constructed on Bui Thi Xuan Street which is a part of the Tan Binh District. It started out as a very tine temple but beginning in 2001, it has been renovated with a number of large-scale projects built around it. There are many things worth looking forward to when visiting Vietnam such as staying at a 5 star hotel in Saigon, immersing in the culture and eating local foods and delicacies but nothing beats visiting the pagoda to drown in its wonders.
The most remarkable of all the projects built around it is the Dang Quang Tower which was constructed in 1996. The tall tower stands at 22 meters high and it took the workers three years before it was completed. The Vien Giac Pagoda took home the tallest ceramic tower award in all of Vietnam which was given by the Vietnam Record Center.
Ceramic tiles surround the exterior of the three-storey tower from deep red to deep green to a bright yellow color. Inside the tower is a room with seven layers. Images of carps surround the roofs which morph into a dragon. Originally built as a place of worship for Sarira, a local language which means Buddhist relic and it holds a basement which is a resting place for the ashes of the abbots who have served the pagoda before. This is also where their earthly possessions are stored.
White ceramic decorates the first floor with design of the lotus flower. There are four doors around the tower with eight images of the Kim Cang gods which are believed to be protectors of the place. The entrance is not open for public. Images can be seen on the ceramic tiles that cover the whole tower and these are of the Eighteen Arhats.
The main hall is large with a traditional architecture despite being built only recently. The entire room is symbolic of a typical house found in Vietnam. Exploring the pagoda alone puts a 5 star hotel in Saigon to shame as it focuses on architecture, culture and religion at the same time.