Mariamman Hindu Temple in Ho Chi Minh City || Vietnam

Mariamman Hindu Temple

Situated close to the Ben Thanh market, the Mariamman Hindu temple serves the small community of 100 or so Chinese and Vietnamese Tamil Hindus living in Ho Chi Minh City.

It is the only Hindu temple that is still open in the city and is considered sacred by Hindu and non-Hindu Vietnamese. The temple is rumoured to have miraculous powers giving luck and wealth to those who worship within its walls.

Built at the end of the 19th century in honour of Mariamman the Hindu Goddess of strength, the temple’s first purpose was as a place of worship for the Chettiar community.

Classically Hindu in style, the colourful temple features vibrant deity sculptures reminiscent of those usually found in Southern India, decorating external walls, roof tops, towers and the shrine inside. The temple was also once used as a factory in which joss sticks were produced.

Mariamman Hindu Temple Highlights

Merchants visiting Vietnam from Tamil Nadu first built the Mariamman Hindu Temple, bringing divine beings such as Ganesh, Amman and Murgua to the streets of Saigon. Sacred images dance on the external walls which feature a royal tower at the entrance that stands 12 metres high. Gods and Goddesses including Shiva, Kali, Brahma and Vishnu are prominently represented with Simha Vahanam sitting to the left of the entrance.

The centre piece at the altar in the heart of the temple is a statue of the Goddess Mariamman with two Hindu guardian deities next to her and two lingams in front. The shrine is usually surrounded by offerings including flowers and joss sticks. There are also two colourful towers on the roof adorned with more Hindu gods, goddesses and lions, simply follow the stairs up from the entrance to see these wonderful pillars.

The temple has a permanent caretaker who will gladly point out different areas and additionally hopes to secure a Hindu Priest from India to conduct regular worship.

Mariamman Hindu Temple

The Mariamman Hindu Temple is open every day from 07:00 until 19:00 and is located at 45 Truong Dinh Street in District 1, just three blocks to the west of Ben Thanh Market. Dress conservatively and remember to remove your shoes before you enter.

Always ask permission from the caretaker before you take any photographs and also expect to be asked to give money to the beggars inside the temple.


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  • I

    I visited this temple during the end of the 20th century. The last Indian priest of the temple, Mr. Lakshmanan, passed away at the beginning of the 21st century. He had married a local Vietnamese girl and was one of the very few Chettiars from Tamil Nadu who stayed in Vietnam after the war was over.  Over 200000 Chettiars used to live and conduct business in Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as it was know at that time.  They owned several buildings in the posh commercial area of Saigon which they all lost after the war and takeover by the Communist government.  They allege they got no help or assistance from the Indian government in getting compensation either from the new Vietnamese government or from the Indian government itself as did North Indians facing similar situation and coming from Punjab and Bengal at partition.

     Legend has it that the temple, one of the two main Hindu temples in Saigon,  never suffered even a scratch from repeated bombings by American warplanes while other buildings were blown to smithereens. 
    So many local Vietnamese believed the temple to be divine and took shelter in it during the bombings. 
    Indeed, the throng of Vietnamese worshipers are far largers than the few Indian visitors and on Fridays it is jam packed with Vietnamese visitors with offerings of oil and incense for the deity.

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