The Mariamman Hindu Temple is to be found in a narrow street called Truong Dinh which runs off the main thoroughfare of Le Lai, close to the New World Hotel. It is the only the only Hindu temple in Ho Chi Minh City.
It was constructed towards the end of the 19th century and was dedicated to the Hindu Goddess of rain, Mariamman. It was built by traders who came to Vietnam from Tamil Nadu, who were known as the Nagaratha. They were adherents of Shivaism, and were one the the most advance communities in India. They were itinerant traders based out of Chettinad. Their true, full history is uncertain.
The temple is believed by many to have magical powers that can bestow good fortune and health on its congregation. The building is incredibly ornate in its construction. The outer walls are decorated with many interesting statues of various deities. In addition to Mariamman, you will find Vishnu, Brahma, Ganesha, Nataraja, Shiva, Valambigai, Kali, Samundi, Thirumagal, Biramasakthi, Mageswari, Meenadchi, Andal, Kamadchiamman, Karumari-amman, Sivagami and Parvati.
In the outer hall the sons of Parvati, Ganesha and Muruga stand on either side of her. The main hall of the complex is called the Rajagopuram. It stands over twelve metres (40 feet) tall and inside, there is a well-maintained statue of Mariamman. She is flanked by her protectors ‘Maduraiveeran’ and ‘Pechiamman’.
The temple serves the Tamil community within Ho Chi Minh City, known as the Chattier; it consists of about 50 families. They are mainly Vietnamese or Sino-Vietnamese, and firmly believe in the powers of Mariamman.
This is small by many temple standards in the city, but the incredible ornate carving and colourful figurines make it an interesting place to visit. Please remember to remove footwear and dress modestly when visiting the Mariamman Hindu Temple. Bare shoulders and short skirts and shorts are not really the done thing. It is a common thing to take offerings like joss sticks, jasmine, lilies or gladioli flowers, to please the goddess of the rain.