The pagoda's khmer name is Wath Sro Loun. To make easy to pronunce, the word Sro Loun is read as Sa Lon. Sro Loun is derived from the word “chro luong” which is the name of a canal running along the former village road near the temple, and that is also used to name the temple.
In 1815, the pagoda was built with trees and leaves like other temples. During the war, under the devastation of bombs, the main hall of the temple was severely damaged. In 1969, the pagoda was rebuilt as today's architecture, including: main hall, sala, stupa, place to store sutras,... During the construction process, due to lack of materials, the monks had new ideas. The initiative is donating cups and plates from people in hamlets to put on the wall. This idea both saved construction costs and created impressive decorative motifs. Since then, the pagoda has also been known by people with the second name: "Chen Kieu pogada".
Around the temple is a fence decorated with the image of dancing Apsara fairy, symbolizing peace and prosperity. There are two stone lion statues on both sides of the entrance gate, facing the highway. Above are 3 towers carved and decorated according to the traditional architecture of the Khmer people in the South. Along the entrance to the temple are two rows of statues of the god kayno (kerno), these are statues with the face of the Apsara fairy - symbolizing eternal beauty and the body of Garuda bird - symbolizing strength.
Like other khmer temples, the roof of the main hall of chen kieu pagoda is built in the form of three levels, that has 3 folds, the bottom one is the largest and the smaller one on the top. The top crease has a triangular shape, the center has a spiked top. The roof is decorated with beautiful patterns and colors. Inside the main hall, along with the dignified atmosphere mixed with incense smoke, visitors will see about 20 large and small buddha statues with many different meditating postures. Around the walls are paintings telling about the life of shakyamuni buddha, from his birth to his enlightenment.
In the middle of the courtyard of Chen Kieu pagoda is a flagpole, with a vivid Nagar snake statue spreading its five heads, referring to the legend of the snake spreading its head to protect the buddha from the rain when he meditated. Nagar is an important decorative motif in khmer buddhist sculpture. The khmer in Soc Trang in particular and the South in general are influenced by Indian buddhism, so theravada buddhism is the main religion, dominating their spiritual life. Therefore, they only worship shakyamuni buddha, but not other guanyin or bodhisattvas. Moreover, the Khmer believe that their ancestors are snake mothers, so they have a belief in snake worship and snake images often appear in pagodas.
Behind the temple is the garden of shakyamuni buddha preaching and entering nirvana. This is an architectural complex consisting of many large and small buddha statues, quite vividly simulating the process of birth, searching for truth, enlightenment until entering nirvana of shakyamuni buddha.
Coming to Chen Kieu pagoda, visitors not only admire the unique architecture of the pagoda, learn about Khmer culture, but also admire a part of property of Bac Lieu’s son - a famous man of the six Southern provinces, which is a conch cabinet, a set of couches and two winter and summer beds, bought by the temple in 1947 with a price of over 2,000 bushels at that time. These items are considered precious antiques, made from good wood, with mother-of-pearl and elaborately carved. Someone paid a high price to buy this item, but the temple did not sell it.
Chen kieu pagoda is one of 18 tourist destinations that visitors should not miss when they have the opportunity to return to Soc Trang./.