Ngoc Son Temple

Weather :

Time Required : 1 - 2 hours

Entry Fee : Adults: VND 30,000
Students: VND 15,000

Timings : 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi Overview

Ngoc Son Temple is popularly known as the Pagoda of Jade Mountain and is located in the Hoan Kiem lake. It is guarded by two towering posts decorated with Chinese writing.

The temple was built in the 18th Century in honour of General Tran Hung Dao (Defeated the Mongols), La To (patron saint of physicians) and a revered intellectual Van Xuong.

One of the most highly visited temples of Hanoi, this Jade Mountain Temple lies in the Hoan Kiem Lake and is connected to the shore by a scarlet bridge. The view of the temple surrounded by the lake is certainly among the best in Vietnam. The scarlet bridge adds an inimitable element of color and contrast to the green lake and blue sky.

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Important Travel Tips

  • It's very easy to miss the ticketing counter. You can find it right before the Huc Bridge, outside of the Temple gates.
  • Every morning, at around 5:00 AM, you can see the residents of the Temple taking exercising by the lake. This is also said to be the most calming time to be around the Temple.
  • Keep an eye out for the endangered large soft-shell turtles that reside in the lake surrounding the Temple.

Dress Code of Ngoc Son Temple

Make sure you adhere to the dress code of the Ngoc Son Temple. Mainly ensure that whatever you are wearing covers your knees and shoulders. The Temple authorities also provide coats for visitors whose clothing does not comply with the Temple regulations.

Significance of the Temple

The most compelling part of the Ngoc Son Temple is in its architecture and in its meaning. As you enter the temple, via the Huc Bridge, you are greeted by two Chinese symbols on the gates - which denote Happiness (Phuc) and Prosperity (Loc). As you go through this gate you will see the Pen Tower which is made of stones entirely. The peak of the Tower is shaped like a quill, while the body has "Ta Thanh Thien" engraved on it - meaning "writing on the clear blue sky". This tower emphasises the importance and the dedication the temple has towards poetry and literature.
This temple is full of symbols which denote the rich heritage of the temple as well as trying to put across the thoughts and souls of scholars of the era. In addition to all this, the powers of the Temple - and that of the scholars it honours even helps students before their exams! Every exam season you will be able to see hundreds of students lining up outside the Temple to pray for good grades in their exams!

History

Built in the 19th century, Ngoc Son Temple or 'The Temple of the Jade Mountain' is an architectural and historical masterpiece. It was built as a dedication to General Tran Hung Dao, Nguyen Van Sieu and Van Xuong. In the beginning, the temple was commonly called Ngoc Son Pagoda but was later renamed to Ngoc Son Temple. During the 19th century, some remodelling work was done to the temple, and it was at this point that the Pen Tower, Tran Ba Temple and The Huc Bridge were constructed.

 

Architecture

Situated on an island at the centre of Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ngoc Son Temple Complex comprises The Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, But Thap (Pen Tower) and Dai Nghien (Ink Slab).

Pen Tower But Thap at Ngoc Son Temple Hanoi
The Pen Tower at Ngoc Son Temple (Source)

The Pen Tower is a stone pinnacle molded like a brush. The Ink Slab is a stone Slab held up by three Stone frogs. The Pen Tower and Ink Slab are testaments of Education and Literacy and see a huge influx of devout students who visit the sanctuary to petition God for stellar evaluations in their examinations.

The Huc Bridge Leading to the Ngoc Son Temple in Hoan Kiem Lake
The Huc Bridge Leads to the Ngoc Son Temple (Source)

The Huc Bridge is a scarlet bridge held by 32 columns. It extends over the Hoan Kiem Lake and opens up toward the start of the main temple. The inside of the temple is comprised of two structures. The North structure houses statuettes of General Tran Hung Dao and Van Xuong and the Southern facing structure houses a statue of the Buddha. The distinctive statues are proof of the differing convictions of the Vietnamese.

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