One Pillar Pagoda

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One pillar pagoda
One pillar pagoda
One pillar pagoda
One pillar pagoda

Location: One Pillar Pagoda is on Chua Mot Cot Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.

Characteristic: The One Pillar Pagoda is a cultural and historic relic, unique for its architectural features

The pagoda was first built in 1049 under the Ly Dynasty, on the west side of the ancient Thang Long Capital.

Read More : Ngoc Son Temple

Its original name was Dien Huu, expressing the wish for longevity for the second King Ly. The pagoda is built in the shape of a lotus blooming on its stem. The pagoda was built after the description of a dream of King Ly Thai Tong who reigned between 1028 and 1054, in which Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the Goddess of Mercy, led him to a lotus flower. The actual One Pillar Pagoda is the miniature reconstruction of a large, ancient, royal Buddhist building.

According to legend, ageing 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 honour of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. According to a theory, the pagoda was built in a style of a lotus emerging out of the water.

Emperor Ly Thai Tong had this temple constructed in gratitude for the mentioned significant legendary event in 1049, by erecting a pillar in the middle of a lotus pond, and a temple of lotus-shape, exactly similar to what he saw in the dream. This unique shape of the pagoda together with the special story has been of great absorption to hundreds of thousands of international tourists!

This Pagoda was located in what was then the Tay Cam Garden in Thach Bao, Vinh Thua­n district in the capital Thang Long (now known as Hanoi. It was built of wood on a single stone pillar 1.25 m in diameter, and it is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, which is a Buddhist symbol of purity, since a lotus blossoms in a muddy pond. Before the pagoda was opened, prayers were held for the longevity of the monarch, hence being considered a temple at that time. During the Ly Dynasty era, the temple was the site of an annual royal ceremony on the occasion of Vesak, the birthday of Gautama Buddha. A Buddha-bathing ceremony was held annually by the monarch, and it attracted monks and laymen alike to the ceremony. The monarch would then free a bird, which was followed by the people.

As time went by, the pagoda succumbed to many ravages caused by the colonial powers. In 1954, the French Union forces destroyed the pagoda before withdrawing from Vietnam after the First Indochina War, and it was rebuilt afterwards.

The pagoda is open daily from 8am to 5pm.

source : One Pillar Pagoda