Bhàgaràjaduonkev pagoda (Phno Dung pagoda)

In recent decades, Co Pagoda is one of the famous tourist destinations of Tra Vinh province, with strong attraction for tourists near and far. This pagoda is located in Cay Da hamlet, Dai An commune, Tra Cu district, about 40 km from Tra Vinh city, to the southwest.

The temple was built on a large mound of Dai An commune, so it is called Giong Lon pagoda, but the Khmer call it Wat Phon Don because there are many coconut trees around (in Khmer, Wat means pagoda, Phon means sand dune, Don means coconut tree). ). Since the beginning of the twentieth century, in the green campus of the temple, each flock of storks gathered more and more, so the pagoda was named Co Pagoda.

From Tra Cu town, along Highway 54 about 7 km, you will come to Chua Co. The temple was built on a small giong lying like a peninsula, the west connects to Giong Lon, the north is a square of sandy clay soil, the east and south are low-lying fields.

Stopping off the highway, visitors have to walk about a hundred meters on a small bamboo-lined path to enter the temple grounds. Compared to other Khmer temples, the first difference is that the main gate of Co Pagoda goes behind the main hall. This is an improvisation to suit the natural geographical conditions because according to Southern Khmer Buddhist thought, the main hall always faces east, while in front of the main hall is low-lying, difficult to navigate.

Like many other Khmer temples in Tra Vinh, Co Pagoda has a long history and was built spaciously in the early decades of the twentieth century. Over time, the structures have deteriorated. In 2010, a local businessman in Ho Chi Minh City made a donation, so the temple was rebuilt as it is today.

The main hall is the central architecture, built on a high platform at the highest position of the campus. Although newly built with modern materials, the main temple of Chua Co Pagoda still retains the ancient architectural style of the Khmer Buddhist temple. The roof of the pagoda is tiled and has three layers. The top roof is steeper than the rest. The top corners of the roof have a soaring dragon tail. Between the roof levels, there are curtains for rain, sun protection, and carved patterns. On the banks of the roof line are dragons lying down, with their heads facing down. At the top of the columns outside the temple corridor, there is a statue of the Keynor dancer with her arms outstretched to support the tiled roof. Columns, trusses, skewers, swingarms, la font... in the main hall are all made of precious wood, painted with gold plated and carved with elaborate and sharp patterns with many different themes. On the wall are paintings diverging the story of Buddha Shakyamuni. On the roof, there is a very unique dragon image. Like many other Khmer Theravada Buddhist temples, inside the main hall of Chua Co also worships only Shakyamuni Buddha.

The other architectures of the Co Pagoda such as monks, synagogues, lecture halls, etc., are concentrated in the north and look at the side of the main hall.

The tourist value and popularity of the Stork Pagoda is not in the architectural art of the main hall and other auxiliary works, but in the campus of more than 3 hectares with tens of thousands of white storks gathered all year round.

As soon as entering the temple grounds, visitors can not help but be surprised by the landscape that is both opposite and intertwined. The main hall is high, colorful and majestic in the vast green of trees. The sound of  kook, kook. Krill… resounded non-stop, when picked up when sparse, when large when small, all day and night. It is the cry of tens of thousands of storks, with a fairly dense density on all the nestable branches of the forest in the temple premises. Almost all stork family present in the territory of Vietnam have representatives at Chua Co such as white stork, ghost stork, spotted stork, red-necked stork, stork… Interspersed with stork nests, with low density. moreover, is the presence of many other natural bird species, many of which have become rare such as Giang lotus, madden, crow, douc, crow... All of them peacefully coexist, friendly, although there are times when conflicts and misunderstandings cannot be avoided.

Storks are tropical birds, not migratory. However, in the dry season, they have to forage far away, so they sometimes spend the night in certain fields. Therefore, to visit Co Pagoda, visitors should go in the rainy season which is also their breeding season. Every morning, thousands of storks, divided into small flocks, leave the nest and rush to the blue sky in an inverted V formation; and every afternoon, so many storks come back to the nest, creating a peaceful and poetic scene inherent in the Vietnamese countryside.

In the past, there were many species of plants endemic to sandy soil such as star, oil, brooch, bamboo, bamboo, etc. Over time, stork droppings kept clinging to the stem, to the leaves, especially the young shoots, making the stork's droppings make them worse. The leaves shrivel up, so there are many stars, even the old trees can't stand it, and they slowly die. Why, no matter where you die, the bamboo will encroach on it. Bamboo and storks exhibit an ideal symbiotic relationship. Stork manure fertilizes bamboo to become more lush, while branches and leaves are a great environment for storks to nest and grow.

Tra Vinh Stork Pagoda is not only a large bird sanctuary to attract tourists, but also a true bird museum for scientific research and protection of natural genetic resources for future generations.

Stork clustering was originally a natural phenomenon. However, to maintain and develop the herd of tens of thousands of storks today, it is thanks to the strict protection of generations of monks, as well as the local people's sense of protecting nature.

Decades ago, the pagoda had set out strict rules forbidding people in Phum Soc as well as strangers from hunting and trading storks. During the war, the soldiers of the old regime were so stubborn and stubborn, but when they opened fire to shoot birds in the temple grounds, they were chased out by the great monk Lam Co with a stick. Another time, the eldest monk, monk, and relative in the village gathered unfortunate birds that were shot and killed by the soldiers and brought them to the governor's palace to fight, demanding punishment for their subordinates who entered the temple for vandalism.

In recent years, the protection of stork flocks in the campus has been carried out more seriously by the monks of Chua Co. Bamboo fences were erected, dividing the temple grounds into 3 separate areas. Around the main hall and other auxiliary structures is a free-flowing area, where entertainment activities are allowed. Next is the "buffer zone", visitors can go in and out but not make noise. Finally, the "core zone" is an area where the bamboo bushes are densely packed together and the density of stork nests is dense, all entry is prohibited, except with the permission of the abbot himself.

In the "buffer zone", the pagoda built a watchtower much higher than the bamboo tops so that responsible people could easily observe and visitors could see and learn about the living habits of the storks.

Co Pagoda and the ruins of Luu Cu Ruins, Dinh An Fishing Village, Phuoc Thang and the famous Nguyen Tieu Thang Hoi ... are diverse tourist destinations along the coast and along the Hau River, convenient for both road and foot traffic. waterway, creating great potential for the development of smokeless industry in Tra Cu district in particular, in the southwestern region of Tra Vinh province in general.

  • Address: Cay Da Hamlet, Dai An Commune, Tra Cu District, Tra Vinh
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