Frankly, the Jade Emperor Pagoda is what I consider to be Saigon's finest sight. I love Saigon and can't wait to go back for a 4th visit to see new things, but I have been back to this place on each and every trip even though it is rather complicated to get there (and I have valliantly walked there from central Saigon each time!).
It was built by a Cantonese Chinese congregation in 1909, so perhaps there are celebrations this year for its 100th anniversary.
Here is the entrance.
Once you enter, the decor is immediately impressive.
There is a delightful little chapel on the left side called the Hall of the Ten Hells. It has scenes of the sins that will send you to hell, such as immoderate drinking.
Frankly, none of the sins depicted looks all that evil. Without the guidebook, it is even difficult to determine exactly what is wrong.
There are also some stairs so that you can go up and see the temple complex from above.
It is really a lovely place, and I heartily recommend a visit the next time you are in Saigon. It is even free, although there is a donation box, to which I was happy to contribute.
What a treat to see these pictures -- everything is so elaborate and beautiful! That roof comb in the last picture is a poem of delicacy.
Questions: are those things that look like springs on the roof to keep pigeons off?
I would love to know what all the statues represent. The many-armed statue, for instance. Is is (she?) crowned with Kwan Yin?
In the eleventh picture down ~ is the ornamentation on the far right made of porcelain?
And one more thing ~~ in the west, we're always told that red represents "luck" to the Chinese. I imagine this is an over-simplification. With the extensive use of red in this temple, it would seem to have a deeper meaning. Can anyone enlighten me? ( )
Among Ho Chi Minh City’s many tourist attractions the Emperor Jade Pagoda in Saigon is one of the most interesting ones. The Chua Ngoc Hong or the Phuoc Hai Tu was built in 1909 by the Cantonese community. The pagoda is also known as the Tortoise Pagoda. Taoist, Buddhist and other ethnic mythical stories from various cultures are carved in the walls of the pagodas. The Figure that dominates the main hall is the statue of the Jade Emperor who is believed to the "god of the heavens". It is the emperor who decides who will be allowed entry in to the heavens and who will be refused. Towards the left is an anteroom, which houses the idol of Kim Hua, a goddess of fertility. The King of Hell occupies another nook and is accompanied by his sundry minions. Many elaborate carvings depict the ten levels of hell and the Chinese’s equivalent of the apocalypse. Enormous statues made of reinforced papier mache depict various figures from ancient Taoist and Buddhist mythology.
Address: 73 Mai Thi Luu St., Saigon - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Entry to this temple is free. However voluntary donations are appreciated.