Quan Am Pagoda

Ho Chi Minh City

One of Cholon’s most active and colourful temples, this shrine was founded in the early 19th century. It’s named after the Goddess of Mercy, whose full name is Quan The Am Bo Tat, literally 'the Bodhisattva Who Listens to the Cries of the World' (觀世音菩萨 in Chinese characters), in reflection of her compassionate mission.

The goddess's name is usually shortened to Quan Am (she is also worshipped in China, Korea and Japan) and her statue lies hidden behind a remarkably ornate exterior. In Tibet, where she is also widely worshipped, the goddess – who was once male – finds earthly form in the Dalai Lama. Fantastic ceramic scenes decorate the roof, depicting figures from traditional Chinese plays and stories. Other unique features of this temple are the gold-and-lacquer panels of the entrance doors.