Among the collection of pagodas in Hanoi, Tran Quoc pagoda is the oldest one which located in the eastern shore of West Lake, just off Thanh Nien road, which is like a bridge between Truc Bach lake and West Lake. With its history of more than 1500 years, you can not ignore this pagoda when visiting Hanoi.
The construction of this pagoda started in 541 and was completed in 545 under the reign of the King Ly Nam De on the bank of the Red river. At the first time, it was named as Khai Quoc meaned National Founder. Until early of 17th century, the pagoda was moved to Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) islet on the east of West Lake and was renamed as Tran Quoc (National Defence). The pagoda is considered as a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddihsm where worshipping Buddha and other famous characters. In the pagoda’s garden stands a Bo De (Bodhi) tree gifted by former Indian President on the occasion of his visit to Hanoi in 1959. The Bodhi is a symbol of supreme knowledge while the lotus represents Buddha, explained by Abbot Thich Thanh Nha of Tran Quoc pagda. This tree now is green and luxuriant, shading over part of pagoda’s yard.
The front gate of the pagoda faces the crowded Thanh Nien Road, this core complex is surrounded by sliver tide of West Lake, and is designed according to strict rules of Buddhist architecture with many layers of buildings and three main houses called “Tiền Đường” (Front Hall), a house for burning incense and upper house. These rooms are connected with each other to form a plus script (工).
The precinct of Tran Quoc Pagoda is highlighted by a high stupa that you may recognize from a far erected in 1998. This stupa is composed of 11 floors with a height of 15m; each floor has a vaulted window holding a statue of Amitabha made from gemstone. On the top stands a nine-storey lotus and is also gemstone. Moreover, Tran Quoc is also a small museum of priceless antiques dated thousands to hundreds years old like worshiping statues in the front house. These statues are all engraved and polished meticulously by skillful craftsmen, which all bear spectacular features. With all these historical and architectural values as well as its spectacular scenary, Tran Quoc pagoda is a favorite stop-over of many pilgrims.
Open Hours at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi: 11a.m.-11:30a.m. and 1:30p.m.-6p.m.
Monday-Saturday, 7a.m.-6p.m. Sunday and holidays.
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