TRAN QUOC PAGODA
More than 1500 years old, Tran Quoc Pagoda holds such an important role in the development of Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular. This is the oldest pagoda in the city and a famous sacred place of Buddhism that attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.
Tran Quoc Pagoda was constructed in 541 and completed in 545 under the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De. It was first built on the bank of the Red River and named Khai Quoc Pagoda (“Khai Quoc” means “National Founding”). However, in the early 17th century, under the reign of King Le Kinh Tong, the pagoda was relocated to the Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) islet due to the river’s encroachment. A small causeway was constructed to link it to the mainland. Since then, the pagoda changed its name to “Tran Quoc” which means “National Defense”.
Landscape and architecture
In the past, Tran Quoc Pagoda was known as the largest Buddhist center in Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Famous for stunning scenery and sacred sanctuary, Tran Quoc Pagoda was often visited by many kings and lords, especially on holidays like full moon day and New Year holidays. Since then, despite changes brought on by urbanization, the pagoda still preserves its fame and special characteristics in its architecture.
The pagoda is located right beside the dazzling West Lake and on an island which is linked by a bridge between the two most romantic lakes of Hanoi, which are Truc Bach Lake and West Lake. The total area of the pagoda is more than 3000m2, including tower garden, ancestral house and upper hall.
The pagoda is constructed following the strict principles of Buddhism structure and architecture with many layers of buildings and 3 main houses: the Front Hall (Tien Duong), the house for incense burning and the Upper Hall (Thuong Dien) connected altogether into the shape of the word “Công” (工). The precinct of Tran Quoc Pagoda is highlighted by a high stupa which is composed of 11 floors with a height of 15m; each floor has a vaulted window holding a statue of Amitabha made from gemstone and on the top stands a nine-storey lotus. This stupa is situated symmetrically with the 50-year-old Bodhi tree gifted by former Indian President when he visited Hanoi in 1959.
In addition, Tran Quoc Pagoda is considered a small museum of ancient worship statues and priceless antiques. In the Front Hall, there are worshiping statues which all are engraved and polished meticulously by skillful craftsmen and bear spectacular features. Among them, the outstanding one is the statue “Thich Ca Thap Niet Ban”, which is evaluated as the most beautiful statue of Vietnam.
With a harmonious combination of the elegant landscape and Buddhist architecture, Tran Quoc Pagoda was recognized as a national monument in cultural and historical values. In 2016, Tran Quoc Pagoda of Hanoi was named one of the world’s 16 most beautiful pagodas by the Daily Mail, a British newspaper.
Location, Opening hours & Tickets
Address: Thanh Nien Road, Yen Phu ward, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Ticket: Free entrance fee, only donation based
Opening hours: From 8.00 am to 4.00 pm every day
Dresscode: dress politely, knees and shoulders are covered
Get directions: https://goo.gl/maps/rw19sNW5mAF7Xp5z8
Photo sources: Unsplash, Google