Thien Hau Temple – Ho Chi Minh City

Thien Hau Temple, officially the Ba Thien Hau Pagoda, “Pagoda of the Lady Thien Hau”, is a Chinese-style temple of the Chinese sea goddess Mazu on Nguyen Trai Street in the Cho Lon of District 5 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Thien Hau Temple was built in early 1760. It was dedicated to the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, whom is believed to bring luck to sailors and fishermen. The iconic temple boasts a wooden entry, elegant pillars and sophisticated carvings, thus featured on any Ho Chi Minh City guidebook.

Located in the center of Cho Lon, Thien Hau Pagogda was built by the Cantonese Congregation in 1760 in order to express their gratitude to this Goddess for her protection during their immigration trip to Vietnam by sea. Huge circles of incense, some of which are one meter in diameter and can burn for a whole month, are hung in the main sanctuary.

Apparently Thien Hau temple is one of the most active temples in Ho Chi Minh City. It is said that Thien Hau has the ability to travel over oceans on a mat and ride on clouds. Thus she is able to save people on the high seas. The 2 land turtles that live here are said to be the protectors of the pagoda. There are intricate ceramic friezes above the roof line of the inner courtyard.

Two miniature wooden structures in which a small figure of Thien Hau is paraded on the 23rd day of the 3rd lunar month are located near the large braziers. On the main dais are 3 figures of Thien Hau, one in front of each other, each flanked by 2 servants or guardians. To the left of the dais is a bed for Thien Hau, to the right, a scaled down boat and the Goddess Long Mau (Protector of Mothers & Newborns).

You will find this 18th-century temple dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea and Protector of Sailors. Of special note is a scale model boat commemorating the first Chinese arriving from Canton, and a whimsical ceramic frieze lining the roofs above the inner courtyard.

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