Explore The Poetic Beauty Of The Old Khmer Pagoda In An Giang

"The pagoda of curved ancient trees” (Chua Hang Cong) is a destination that you can not miss. Its natural and simple beauty that has existed for generations in the Seven Mountains region of An Giang attracts attractions around Vietnam.
April 21, 2023 | 09:37

If you ever come to the Seven Mountains range, do not forget to visit “the pagoda of curved ancient trees” once, the pagoda with the “most unique entrance gate” of An Giang.

Prochum Meap Chhum Kiriram Pagoda, also known as Krang Kroch, located in Chau Lang, Tri Ton, is the only Theravada temple in An Giang province with a row of curved ancient trees extending from the gate to the inside of the place. This character almost makes people forget the real name of the pagoda, and only calls it “Chua Hang Cong”.

Photo: NLD
Photo: NLD

In the Khmer language, the name Prochum Meáp Chhưm Kiriram means “The pagoda between the mountains”. As for Krang Kroch, Krang is "high mound" and Kroch is "forest pomelo".

In 1608, Krang Kroch pagoda was built on a high mound, full of forest pomelos and surrounded by mountains. At that time, people had to cross a rice field in order to enter the pagoda, which proved to be very difficult. Until 1965, the head monk Khunh Sa Rith of the pagoda had helped build a pathway. When it was finished, they also planted a lot of trees to create a lovely natural scenery for visitors coming here.

Photo: Du lich mien Tay
Photo: Du lich mien Tay

Before passing away, the head monk told everyone not to touch the trees and let them grow naturally. Following his wishes and preserving the treasures that he left behind, the people kept the old, ancient trees and planted new ones alongside them.

There are about 60 to 70 trees that have been existing in this small pagoda that is about 17.000m2 in width. As time passed, along with the wars, some trees only had their outer shape, but the inside gradually rotted. The rest just keep growing strongly, branches touching the wide sky.

Photo: NLD
Photo: NLD

Each tree has a different shape. Some stand upright, looking majestic in the sky, and some look as lean as bamboo trees. They have been becoming an important part of the pagoda and the local people living here. The beautiful scenery of this destination attracts a large number of tourists to visit and take the most beautiful pictures.

Even though it is old, the pagoda still retains its sophisticated architecture that was carefully preserved by generations, in every pattern on the tower, the main hall, and the roof. This place has not been restored much except for the main hall area. In the future, once the site is repaired and renovated, it will be even more eye-catching and famous to tourists in other countries.

Photo: NLD
Photo: NLD

About the Bay Nui Mountain range, An Giang

Blessed with natural beauty, Bay Nui or That Son is also rich in history and culture. That is why through the years, the place has become a favorite destination for both local and foreign tourists. In literal terms, Bay Nui means “Seven Mountains.” It is situated in An Giang Province, stretching through the Tri Ton and Tinh Bien Districts of the Mekong Delta.

It is home to different ethnic groups, including the Kinh and Khmer. Buddhism, Caodaism, and Catholicism are some of the religions practiced here. True to its historical and cultural richness, there are many exciting sites to visit at Bay Nui: Linh Son Co Tu Pagoda; Phan Thanh Gian Temple; Son Tien Tu Pagoda; Ong Ho Cave, and Ong Chot Ta Cave.

Photo: NLD
Photo: NLD

According to local legend, the goddess of the mountain lives in both caves and so the residents frequently go there to pray and show their respect. Moreover, the two caves also provide a stunning sight, especially for first-time visitors. Aside from stories of goddesses, fairies are also said to be found at Bay Nui, making it more mysterious to the rest of the world.

If one wants to try the local specialties or take them home as souvenirs, they can choose from or try all: tram fruit, dried tra fish, and thot not or water coconut.

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