Popularly known as the Pagoda of Jade Mountain located in the Hoan Kiem lake, the Ngoc Son Temple is guarded with two towering posts decorated with Chinese writing. Built in the 18th century, the pagoda houses a large broze bust and other deities. There are various altars dedicated to Tran Hing Dao, ancient artefacts like ceramics and a giant 250kg preserved turtle.
One of the most highly visited temples of Hanoi, Ngoc Son Temple is found on a small island in Hoan Kiem Lake. Without a doubt, this city is known for all that it has to offer tourists - and locals alike. However, the charm and the beauty of the Ngoc Son Temple is unparalleled.
Ngoc Son Temple 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.
Ngoc Son Temple Architecture
Situated on an island in the center point of Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ngoc Son Temple stands out as one amongst the most marvellous attractions. The Temple Complex comprises of The Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, But Thap (Pen Tower) and Dai Nghien (Ink Slab).
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 is a vermillion hued connect upheld by 32 columns. It extends over the Hoan Kiem Lake and opens up toward the start of the main sanctuary. The inside of the sanctuary is comprised of two structures. The North-bound 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.
Ngoc Son Temple Significance
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!
Ngoc Son Temple Dress Code
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.
How to Reach Ngoc Son Temple
The Ngoc Son Temple is located on a little island in the middle of the Hoan Kiem Lake. All you have to do is get to Hoan Kiem Lake and walk on the Huc Bridge to reach the Temple.
Tips for Visiting Ngoc Son Temple
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 their exercise 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.
The Ngoc Son Temple has something mysterious about it. Not only is it very pretty - but it also gives visitors a sense of calmness and happiness that few places actually can do. A visit to Hanoi would be totally incomplete without a trip to visit the Ngoc Son Temple.