Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Chua Ba Mariamman Hindu Temple

Just a few blocks from Tao Dan Park is the Chua Ba Mariamman Hindu Temple, a bright and vibrant place of worship, the only Hindu temple in Saigon.  The temple sits in the middle of a commercial block and really stands out.

Chua Ba Mariamman Temple

In the late 19th century, the Tamals came to Vietnam from India to engage in money lending.  The community was very religious and built this temple dedicated to the Hindu god Mariamman and two other temples, of which this is the only one remaining and is actively used for worship by the Saigon Hindu community.  The worshipers in the temple offer flowers and fruits and burn joss sticks for happiness, health and prosperity.

I take off my shoes and enter, walking around the temple, just taking it all in.

 Temple interior

Mariamman, meaning "Mother Mari" is the South Indian Hindu goddess of disease and rain.  One story about her is that she was the wife of a Tamil poet and caught smallpox, fanning herself with the leaves of the neem (also known as margosa) tree to keep flies off her sores.  She recovered and people worshiped her as the goddess of smallpox and to keep smallpox away, they hung leaves of the neem tree above the doors of their houses.

The temple is truly beautiful and inspiring inside and I quietly take it all in and try not to disturb the worshipers.

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