Thien Ma – the mountain is about to have the tallest statue of Quan Am in Vietnam

8 February, 2023

In the first days of the year, Quang Ngai people flock to Thien Ma mountain, where Minh Duc pagoda with a 125 m high statue of Quan Am is under construction.

Quang Ngai has three mountains “Tam Thien” including Thien An, Thien But and Thien Ma. In which, Thien An on the north bank of Tra Khuc River is the most prominent mountain, creating the name “An mountain – Song Tra”, the way Quang Ngai people call their homeland. Thien But is also one of the 12 scenic spots of the province, which the ancients gave to the beautiful letter “Thien But Phe Van” (meaning the pen writes in the clouds of the sky).

And Thien Ma Mountain is located at the end of Tra Khuc River where the river is about to merge with the sea. Not as famous as the above two mountains, but in the past three years, Thien Ma has become a prominent address on the tourist map, with an average of hundreds of visitors every day, sometimes thousands of visitors at peak times. On the mountain, there is Thien Ma Cultural Area with a construction capital of 1,000 billion VND, including Minh Duc Pagoda. According to the investor, the pagoda will also be the site of the highest Quan Am statue in Vietnam – 125 m when completed.

Thien Ma Mountain is near where Tra Khuc River flows into the sea. Photo: Pham Linh

Visitors coming here can see Cua Dai – where Tra Khuc river flows into the sea. The top of the mountain is a natural observatory, overlooking the city of Quang Ngai on both sides of the river, fishing villages, vegetable villages, many other scenic spots, and Ly Son island.

Thien Ma was once mentioned by the ancients in a famous folk song about the tradition of studiousness and achievement of the Quang Ngai people. “When Thien Ma crosses the river / My Lai village will not be public servants”.

My Lai village is located in the north of Thien Ma mountain, now in Tinh Khe commune, Quang Ngai city (where the My Lai massacre took place) is a village famous for its academic tradition. The village has a lot of people working as “public servants” (mandarins in the court), typically Mr. Truong Dang Que. He passed Huong Tien (Bachelor, the highest degree at that time) in the 18th year of Gia Long (1819), the first person in Quang Ngai to achieve this degree.

Referring to Thien Ma Mountain, it is impossible not to talk about Kinh Giang River. Tra Khuc River passes through Thien Ma mountain and then splits into two branches. One branch flows to Cua Dai to the sea, another branch goes parallel to the coast, forming Kinh Giang River 8 km long.

Mr. Tran Cao Minh, former Chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Ngai province, who lives near the Kinh Giang river, said that the river was very beautiful in the past, with nipa forests and cork forests, in the season the flowers bloomed white and very fragrant. From here, people on the south bank of Co Luy estuary crossed the river mouth, rowed along the Kinh river to Sa Ky to trade. Boats travel on the busy river. On the river, there are many rafts of people fishing.

Thien Ma Mountain is also known as Giong Mountain. Fishermen fishing on the Kinh Giang stream and in the sea, looking up to the mainland, they see Giong mountain, next to it is Dau Voi mountain or Tranh mountain (because there is a lot of grass). Therefore, the ancients put a folk song: “Look at Tranh, Giong is in a relationship / Whose hand is I going to be with you?” This is a mysterious legend because it is not clear what relationship “you belong to” and the two mountains Giong and Tranh.

The world’s tallest statue of Quan Am on Thien Ma mountain has risen to 70m high compared to the 125m design. Photo: Pham Linh

Historically, Thien Ma did not have a pagoda like other mountains, so the atmosphere was usually quiet. By 2018, the Most Venerable Thich Tam Vi, a native of Quang Ngai, was abbot of two large temples in Lam Dong province, Linh Phuoc Pagoda (Temple of the bottle), Linh An Pagoda, invested in Thien Ma cultural area on the mountain.

After two years of site clearance, in early 2020, the investor held a groundbreaking ceremony for construction. Currently, Long Hoa Vien area, Maitreya statue has been completed. The main hall of Minh Duc Pagoda, and the interior decoration is expected to be completed in 2023. The 12,000 m2 main hall has Dai Hung Bao Dien with three 21 m high Buddha statues, two walls engraved with 64 reliefs about the Buddha’s life.

The statue of Quan Am is expected to be 125 m high and 70 m high, according to the plan to be completed by the end of 2023. When completed, this will become the tallest Buddha statue in Vietnam, surpassing the statues in Ba Den mountain (Tay Ninh). 72 m high and in Linh An pagoda (Da Lat city) 71 m high.

The special thing here is that the temple and statue have not been completed yet, but guests are still flocking to the mountain to worship. According to the representative of Minh Duc pagoda, people everywhere flock to because the temple is located on the top of the mountain with beautiful landscape and architecture.

“We let Buddhists and people and tourists visit the items that have been basically completed. As for the Quan Am statue under construction, visitors are absolutely not allowed to enter. When the temple and statue are officially inaugurated, they will be open to the public,” a representative of Minh Duc Pagoda said.

Thien Ma Mountain seen from the middle of Tra Khuc River, on the 5th of the Lunar New Year 2023, when the Boat Racing Festival takes place. Photo: Pham Linh

According to the leader of Quang Ngai province, the investment in Thien Ma Cultural Park on the Dung Quat – Sa Huynh sea route has turned the unspoiled mountain into a highlight in the east of the city, according to the development plan of Quang Ngai city. sea ​​direction. Minh Duc Pagoda will become a spiritual tourist destination known throughout the country.

Ms. Truong Thi Thu Huong, Vice President of the Quang Ngai Provincial Tourism Association, said that when Minh Duc Pagoda opens, it will attract a large number of tourists to visit the temple. They will combine to nearby My Khe beach and take Sa Ky port to Ly Son island. Besides, many services are likely to develop as restaurants, hotels, and homestays. Travel companies will easily organize package tours for guests, prolonging their stay in Quang Ngai.

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