With the history line of more than 1500 years, Tran Quoc Pagoda is known as the most ancient sacred pagoda in Thang Long (Hanoi). Additionally, it is also a culture symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism partly, the pride of Hanoian in particular and Vietnamese people in general. Located on a small island on the East side of West Lake, on Thanh Nien Road. The pagoda is a subtle combination between a religious relic with a spectacular surrounding scenery. It was used to be one of the most favorite destinations for Vietnamese emperors and lords. Especially the important days such as Tet holiday in the past. Nowadays, Tran Quoc pagoda is one of the most attractive site for many Buddhist devotees, and local and international tourists. Visiting Tran Quoc pagoda, visitors will have a chance to understand about the religion life and culture of Vietnamese people.
History of Tran Quoc Pagoda
Old documents said that the establishment of pagoda happened under the reign of King Ly Nam De (541-547) in the period of Van Xuan State. Originally, its site lay on An Hoa village near the Red river (formerly Yen Phu village, Tay Ho District now). The original name if “Khai Quoc” (National Founding). Its name changed to “An Quoc”, which means a peaceful country, by King Le Thai Tong (1440-1442). Accidently, a serious land slide in 1615 affected into the pagoda foundation. That disaster made the local people to relocated to Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) islet on the East of Ho Tay (West Lake) where it is now situated.
People visit Tran Quoc pagoda for praying on Tet holidays
However, as there was no way to enter the pagoda except for boat, in 1624 An Hoa villagers continued building the Cổ Ngư lagoon or Thanh Nien Street at the present which separated West Lake and Truc Bach Lake. Since then, the pagoda was named Tran Quoc, meaning protecting the country in 1628 under King Le Than Tong’s reign.
Tran Quoc pagoda guidline
Like most of temples in Vietnam with strict rules of Buddhist architecture. The layer of Tran Quoc Pagoda seem to the shape of the word “Cong” (工 ). Moreover, it also consists of with many layers of buildings and three main houses several including Tien Duong (The forecourt), Thuong Dien (The front-worshiping room), Nha thieu huong (The incense burning house).
Standing at on Thanh Nien Road, you can see the towers of the pagoda rising above the lake’s surface. Its name called Bao Thap Luc Do Dai Sen (The Precious Stupa). This stupa includes 11 floors with a height of 15m. Each floor has six arched door ways with a statue of Buddha Amitabha . The top of the tower has a nine-story lotus called the Cuu Pham Lien Hoan. The stupa location symmetrically is Bo De (Bodhi) tree in the pagoda garden. That’s a gift by former Indian President when he visited Hanoi in 1959.
Tran Quoc pagoda inside
How to visit the pagoda
Coming to Tran Quoc pagoda in different, you will see distinct beauty which rarely seen in other ones. In the summer season, this pagoda is a cool island with many moss stone steps and vibrate waves where you get away from noisy and hot streets. In the winter, it has the mysterious beauty hidden in the mist. It helps anyone coming to Tran Quoc Pagoda to feel tranquil and peaceful, throw away a part of secular to make gentle and good things.
View of Tran Quoc pagoda from Thanh Nien road (Youth road)
The pagoda opens daily from 7 am to 11:30am and from 1:30pm to 6pm. It is advisable for all visitors to wear decent clothing, by wearing long trousers and covering the shoulder before visiting the pagoda. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes by car from the center of Hanoi, depending on the road traffic. To save your cost, you can take the bus as the bus stop is in front of the pagoda’s gate. However, the route requites two buses which can be difficult with tourists. It is the better way if you take a taxi or motorbike to to visit the spiritual pagoda.
Tours for Tran Quoc pagoda: Hanoi City Tour