Linh Phuoc pagoda (Dragon pagoda/Bottle Pagoda) in Da Lat, Vietnam
Far about 10 km from Dalat city center to the northeast, Linh Phuoc Pagoda is located at No. 120, Tu Phuoc, Trai Mat, ward 11, Dalat city, Lam Dong province, Vietnam. Linh Phuoc Pagoda was built in 1949 and completed its construction in 1950. Every wall, ceiling, pillar, Buddha, dragon and mythical creature in the pagoda are intricately inlaid with thousands of small pieces of broken glass, porcelain, terracotta and beer bottles. These special mosaic tiles gave the pagoda the nickname, Chùa Ve Chai, which literally means “pieces of broken glass bottles”. Retaining the unique architecture, Linh Phuoc Pagoda has long become one of the famous pagodas in Dalat, an oner pagoda with this architectural style of Eternal Spring City.
It is still the pagoda inspiring Oriental architectural style with the sanctum worshiping the Buddha, the curved tiled roofs and pillars carved figures of sacred animal, namely dragon, phoenix, yet the particular features of Linh Phuoc Pagoda compared to other Dalat pagodas is overall architecture of the pagoda is inlaid with debris of glass, pottery bowls and porcelain forming colorful patterns harmonizing and balancing each other. Since the pagoda has been covered with its new appearance, not only Buddhists but also numerous tourists come here to admire ornate and unique artistic works.
Setting foot on Linh Phuoc Pagoda, along with offering incense to Buddha, tourists can also have a chance to enjoy the architectural style elaborately built. The first architectural works impressing with pilgrims is Long Hoa Vien (the Dragon and Flower Park) carved the image of meandering dragon 49 m long winding around the statue of Maitreya Buddha. The scabs of the dragon are made of 12,000 empty bottles of beer. There is a small lake next to dragon's body with the statue of Maitreya Buddha sitting atop. The next ones are sanctum and stupa, a massive and unique architectural works. The sanctum is 33 meters long, 22 meters wide. The 1th floor is home to worship 108 statues. In the internal sanctum, Shakyamuni Buddha statue is 4.9 m high including lotus, which is made of reinforced concrete and exterior trimmed with gold along with the dynamic relief. This is one of the highlights turning Linh Phuoc Pagoda into one of the most impressive tourist Dalat attractions.
Along the sanctum is 2 rows of dragon pillars inlaid with glass debris, which is similar to mosaic style in tombs of Nguyen Emperors. Above those 2 rows of pillar are embossments inlaid with crockery describing the history of Shakyamuni Buddha from his birth to nirvana. There are also sculptural paintings of classic reference of Amitābha, The Amitayurdhyana and The Lotus Sutra. Behind is the place to worship the statues of Bodhidharma, reliefs of 18 Arhats and 10 Bulls, all of which retain spectacular beauty making tourists amazing. Discovering Linh Phuoc Pagoda is definitely one of the most unforgettable things to do in Dalat.
In front of Long Hoa Vien is the 7-floor tower 37 meters high (it is considered the highest bell tower in Vietnam established on 05/05/2008 by Vietbooks). It is home to worship the Buddha statues and also the museum. The 1st floor also retains a bell tower (casted in late 1999). The bell is 4.3 m high, 2.3 m in diameter and weighs up to 8.5 tons. The casting of the bell includes the contribution of Buddhists and tourists over the country along with domestic and foreign people. A group of Hue artists invited to cast the bell has spent more than a year to mold and carve the images on the bell including the famous pagodas of our country, the statues of Buddha thousand hands-thousand eyes along with scenic sights... Whole steeple is decorated dragons and phoenix together with classic motifs. From the roof to the walls of handrails, pillars of entrances are meticulously inlaid with crockery. It is distinctive details that have given Linh Phuoc Pagoda to become one of the most impressive attractions in Dalat. The journey of exploring Dalat travel will be definitely much more memorable when tourists set foot on wonderful Linh Phuoc Pagoda.
On the right of the pagoda is the area of the inner. The monk houses is home to live of monks in the pagoda. The 3-storey house includes "Tinh Duong" and semicircular lotus pond on the top floor and rooms for monks at the middle floor and ground floor. In the middle is a large living room and library of the pagoda. Linh Phuoc Pagoda is one of the famous scenic spots in Dalat tours, the unique architectural works from mosaic deeply imbued with characteristics of Oriental architecture and welcoming the large number of tourists from all over the country and abroad yearly. The pagoda significantly displays its contribution to promote the image of Dalat tourism closer to international friends.
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