Set to the north of the botanical gardens on Nguyen Binh Khiem, the Jade Emperor Pagoda is easily Saigon’s most atmospheric. If you’ve got time for just one pagoda, this should be the one. Constructed by the city’s Cantonese community at the turn of the century,the Jade Emperor guards the entrance to heaven – deciding who gets in and who has to shuffle off to that less pleasant, far warmer place. His two companions, one with a lamp and the other with a gruesome axe, are there to help guide you in the right direction. These aren’t the only deities here: you’ll also find a fertility goddess, the Lord of Hell and even the Buddha of the future. The entire collection is somewhat of a fusion of Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian mythologies.
To the left of the main sanctuary is the highlight: the Hall of the 10 Hells. Lined with wooden panels that depict the 10 layers of hell, these carvings lay out exactly what is waiting for all you sinners. Each panel is topped with a representation of a King of Hell perusing a book that details the very evil acts perpetuated by the dead — they seemed to stare at us in a rather knowing fashion.
Statuary aside, the pagoda is overflowing with incense and is often quite crowded, both with tourists and worshippers. The latter are amazingly tolerant of the former — perhaps they’re trying to accumulate some credit for sins past.
73 Mai Thi Lu St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
7 Reviews of Jade Emperor Pagoda
The pagoda is dedicated to the Emperor of Jade
Among Ho Chi Minh City’s many tourist attractions, the Jade Emperor Pagoda is one of the most interesting ones. The Jade Emperor Pagoda, built in 1909 by the Chinese Congregation, is truly a gem among…
Grotesqueries meet Beauty
Saigon’s Jade Emperor Pagoda was built in 1909 by the Cantonese, and features fearsome deities and phantasmagorical wood carvings, set in beautiful architecture. Here, amidst the smoky joss sticks, you’ll…
Tourists to Vietnam
Most tourists to Vietnam are bowled over by the earthly beauty of this tiny country called Vietnam. From the Red River delta in the north to the Mekong Delta in the south and the acres and acres of green paddy…
Some 4 miles (6 km) out of District 1, is one of the most beautiful pagodas in Ho Chi Minh, the Jade Emperor Pagoda. On the right of the temple there is a pond with turtles. The building itself is not that…
An open book of Buddhist folklore – if you can read!
This is probably one of the five most important Buddhist places of worship in HCMC, and combines the values of a number of different aspects of Vietnamese religion. Its statuary is a textbook of local deities and…
Colourful and Interesting
It’s a little hard to find; we took a taxi but he wasn’t sure about the English ‘Emperor Jade Pagoda’ – so either have it on the map or have a street name.The place is interesting and very much a…
Steeped in history and mystique
Totally worth a visit. Enter the smoky interiors of the temple and be transported into another dimension. On the left hall, the jade emperor and his subordinates watch over the hall. In the same hall, the wood…
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