Giac Lam is a bit hidden away in a huge suburban sprawl which makes up the Tan Binh area of Ho Chi Minh. To find it, you need a map (or a local guide) and a good eye for a stupor. This monument is the landmark that shows the temple’s notoriety around this area.
Built in 1744, this is the oldest temple in Ho Chi Minh. The builder was a man named Ly Thuy Long. It was built to offer a temple of service for the villages around this area at the time. This area was a jungle sprawl back in that time. What was once a fertile jungle has become an urban landscape, with the Pagoda fenced away from the busy streets today.
Throughout its reign, the Giac Lam Pagoda has been a place of worship and to experience a serene environment. The pagoda itself has three main buildings. These are the main ceremony hall, the Dharma Preaching Hall, and the hall for eating. The total size is around 65m x 22m. Old wooden pillars keep the temple upright. Messages with old inscriptions on this ancient wood offer divinity to the Pagoda.
There are around 112 sculptures or statues in the Pagoda. The main altar holds the statue of the Sakayumi Buddha and four Bodhisattvas. It is very similar for these statues to be the focus in Mahayana Buddhist Temples across Southern Vietnam. A few statues are gilded or coated with gold. The oldest statue is of Gautama Buddha, dating back to the 19th century and there are nine bronze dragons. This represents the birth of Prince Siddhartha, which is now Vesak.