MEKONG RIVER DELTA – AN GIANG PROVINCE 2

Tay An Pagoda

In harmony with the natural landscape, the pagoda was constructed according to Hindu architectural style in 1847. The main gate is of traditional Vietnamese design, and there are statues of a black and a white elephant in front. There are tombs of monks in the area surrounding the pagoda.

President Ton Duc Thang Monument

The construction of the monument started in May 1997 and completed in August 1998 on the President’s 110th birthday anniversary. The complex consists of a shrine, a memori­al house and a house-on-stilt located in Ong Ho Islet, My Hoa Hung Commune, Long Xuyen City. The shrine has the shape of an ancient pavil­ion. A flight of nine steps leads to the platform paved with fragrant wood and to the peak of the shrine. Standing on a place of pride is the bust of Ton Duc Thang. The slanted door fea­tures a dragon flanking a scroll with charac­ters “Ton Duc Thang” in gold; on two sides of the scroll there are carvings of bamboo motifs; on the lowest part of it is a cap turning into a dragon supporting the slanted door. The part close to the ceiling of the memorial house is decorated all over with the symbol of five blessings (wealth, position, longevity, good health, security). The house-on-stilt was modelled after a typi­cal house in the South with three compart­ments and two learn-toes built in 1887. President Ton Duc Thang spent his childhood there. The house is built on an wood frame and cajuput pillars and roofed with tube tiles. After years serving the revolution, the presi­dent returned to this house in 1920,1945 and 1975. Behind the house there are four tombs, two of his parents and two of his younger brother and sister-in-law. On display at the memorial house are many pictures and documents and objects about the life and career of President Ton Duc Thang. On the entrance are hung two parallel sentences written in national script:

Leaning against seven mountains, drinking from the Mekong River, My Hoa Hung brings fame to the nation,

Firing up Ba Son Uprising, hoisting the red flag on the Black Sea, Ton Duc Thang builds up prestige for the country.

Cam (Forbidden) Mountain

Cam Mountain is located in An Hao Commune, Tinh Bien District, 90km from Long Xuyen City by National Highway 91. It is the most beautiful and highest mountain (710m above the sea level) among seven mountains in Southwestern Viet Nam. Local people spread two stories about the name of the mountain. In one it is said that the moun­tain was too rugged and full of beasts and inaccessible to everyone except the gods of the mountains, hence the name Forbidden; in the other it is said that when Nguyen Anh was hunted by the Tay Son troops he took refuge in the mountain and forbade anyone to access, hence the mountain got such name.

The average temperature on the mountain ranges between 18°C and 24°C. It is accessi­ble by car and foot. If you go trekking, you will pass many scenic spots and vestiges along the way such as Thanh Long Stream, Thuy Liem Cave, Phat Lon Pagoda, Phat Nho Pagoda, a statue of Mitreya, and Van Linh Pagoda. Most impressive among them are Van Linh Pagoda and Mitreya Statue. The pagoda was reconstructed in 1995 on an area of about 500m2 with a lot of structures. Its architecture is a combination of traditional and modern style. In the centre of it is located the Buddhist Sanctorium, and in front of it are three towers. The middle tower is a 9-storey Avalokitesvara pavilion 35m in height, each storey is for worshiping one Buddha statute (the ground storey for worshipping Kwan Yin, the second storey for Bodhisattva… the high­est storey for worshipping Sakyamuni). The Avalokitesvara pavilion is flanked by the 1.2- ton-bell tower on one side and a stupa on the other side. If you have a chance to climb up to the highest level of the Avalokitesvara pavilion, you will be able to catch the entire view of the serene Cam mountain peak and the biggest statute of Mitreya in Viet Nam, 33.6m in height.

Going in the eastward direction from the foot of the mountain you will come across a forest, about 100ha which offers many entertain­ment services and local specialties.

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