Bests of Hanoi you’ve never heard of (Part 1: Pagoda)

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One pillar pagoda

It’s is pagoda that remains cultural heritage of Hanoi in particular and Vietnam in general.

Each visitor of Hanoi has their own feelings towards this thousand year civilization. However, the ancient, various-cultural value city is the common image to stay in their mind about Hanoi.

Therefore, let’s take a journey to pagodas to explore that old Hanoi.

>> Splendid gateways mark site of ancient West Lake Village

>> Hanoi City tour

The oldest pagoda in Hanoi

Standing against the weather for 1500 years, Tran Quoc pagoda is considered as the oldest pagoda in Hanoi. At first, it was called Khai Quoc (National Founding) constructed since King Ly Nam De dynasty (544-548). Then, An Quoc (Pacification of the Realm) became its new name at the time of King Le Thai Tong in the 15th century, but today, people often call the pagoda as Tran Quoc ( the Guardian of the country).

Tran Quoc pagoda lies to the east of Hanoi’s West Lake. The combination of the majesty & antiqueness of Tran Quoc pagoda and the endlessness of West Lake makes Hanoi somehow uniquely peaceful & ancient.

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Tran Quoc Pagoda at twilight

A uniqueness of the pagoda is the tower garden with numerous ancient towers, especially the high precious stupa erected in 1988. This stupa is composed of 11 floors with a height of 15m; each floor has 6 vaulted windows holding a statue of Amitabha made from gemstone. On the top stands a nine-storey lotus (Cửu đỉnh liên hoa) and is also gemstone.

With all the historical and architectural values, Tran Quoc Pagoda is not only worth visiting as a sacred sanctuary of Buddhism; but also an indispensable destination for cultural explorers to Vietnam.

>> More attractions in Hanoi

The weirdest pagoda in Hanoi

If you haven’t heard of a one-pillar pagoda, this pagoda should be the top one on your travel destination list. It’s called One Pillar Pagoda as its characteristic.

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One pillar pagoda is printed on Vietnam coins

According to legend, aging Emperor Ly Thai To of the Ly dynasty, who had no children, used to go to pagodas to pray to Buddha for a son. One night, he dreamt that he was granted a private audience to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who was seated on a great lotus flower in a square-shaped lotus pond on the western side of Thang Long Citadel, gave the King a baby boy. Months later, when the Queen gave birth to a male child, the Emperor ordered the construction of a pagoda supported by only one pillar to resemble the lotus seat of his dream in the honor of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. According to a theory, the pagoda was built in a style of a lotus emerging out of the water.

Pagoda possessing the most Buddhism statues in Hanoi

Regards Duong Lam ancient village (Son Tay), tourists not only remember historical – cultural scenery, but also the ancient pagoda Mía which possesses the most Buddhism statues.

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Duong Lam ancient village where Mía pagoda is located

There are 287 different Buddha statues and each statue represents lively different postures and adorned by beautiful colors. From eyes to hands and clothes of statues, all of them reflect the severity and mercy of Buddha. In May, 2006 Mia pagoda was listed in Vietnam Buddha culture record list of having largest number of art Buddha statues.

The architecture and statues system of Mia pagoda is recognized as on of the most important relics of the country.

…to be continued