July 24, 2023
HANOI – Among the jungles and fields around it, the Kà Ốt Pagoda stands out for its distinctly Khymer architectural style.
Construction on the site began in 1980 and the pagoda was officially inaugurated in 1996, becoming a key religious site of ethnic Khmer people living in the area.
The pagoda was named Kiri Sattray Menchey, which literally means ‘good fame of a triumphant woman’, but later was changed to Kà Ốt.
It was built on a large plot of land believed to receive the sacred energy of Heaven and Earth. The surrounding area is full of soaring bamboo stalks which offer a tranquil setting.
The pagoda is located in Kà Ốt Hamlet in Tân Đông Commune, Tân Châu District of the Tây Ninh border province and is a tourist magnet in the region.
Its main hall, perched high above the ground, features a tiled roof with dragon heads adorning the corners. The view from the main hall is facing the East, which, according to local custom, faces the Buddha.
Visitors can admire the peaceful scenery, especially in the noon time when the sun shines through the foliage, creating an enchanting yet meditative scene.
For Khmer people living in this border area, the Kà Ốt Pagoda not only is a sacred place where they conduct Buddhist practices but also their spiritual and cultural centre. Every year, several major Buddhist rituals are held at the pagoda such as Vesak, Buddha’s birthday; the Chol Neasa to pray for favourable weather, bumper crops, and happy families, and the Kathina robe offering ceremony.
Besides, there are other traditional festivals associated with the Buddhist practice such as Chol Chnam Thmay, Sen Dolta, Ok Om Bok, and the rice offering ritual – altogether creating a vibrant-coloured picture of the rich spiritual practice and culture of Khmer people. — VNS