One Pillar Pagoda

Weather :

Timings : Closed on Mondays and Fridays
Summers: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Winters: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Entry Fee : Free

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One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi Overview

One Pillar Pagoda is a temple located in the Ba Dinh district of Hanoi. It is also known as Mat Chua, Dien Huu or Lien Hoa Dai. The structure of the temple stems from a single pillar in a lotus pond and branches to a pagoda.

It has been recognised as the 'Most unique architectural temple in Asia' by the Asian Record Organization in the year 2012.

Built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong, the temple is known to be the symbol of Vietnamese culture. Despite not being a huge building, its greatness is measured by its artistic, spiritual values, and is known to bring fertility and good health. The image of the One Pillar Pagoda is often the symbolic representation of Hanoi and is found on Vietnamese coins, thus illustrating its profound importance.

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Dress Code

Before visiting the One Pillar Pagoda, you need to remember the dress code for this place. Covering chest, shoulders, and legs is, and carrying a scarf is also advisable. Any attire disrespecting the dress code of the temple is looked down upon.

Structure & Architecture

Radiating positivity and tranquillity, the architecture of the One Pillar Pagoda represents Vietnamese cultural traditions. The name of the temple is enough to suggest its structure. The temple is built in a blooming lotus shape which stands on a single stone pillar. An interesting fact about this temple is that it was made using a single stone which has beautiful Buddhist scriptures carved on it. The circular shape column is known to represent Yang, whereas the outer square shape represents Yin.
Temple Divisions and Symbols
The upper part of the pillar has eight wooden petals which are skilfully made to look like a lotus, and the curved roof is decorated with dragons. For the same, it is also known as the Taiwan Lotus. The decorated ceiling symbolises the power and wisdom of the Vietnamese people.

Architectural Facts about the One Pillar Pagoda
The pillar of the Pagoda is about four meters high and is placed on two overlapping stone blocks. The main altar of the temple consists of a purple shrine and a gold idol of Goddess Quan The Am Bo. A lotus pond surrounds the Pagoda with turquoise tiles and ancient Bodhi trees in the garden. Indian President Dr Rajendra Prasad donated these elements in 1958 to President Ho Chi Minh. The gifted tree is believed to be an offshoot of the Bodhi tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment.

History of the One Pillar Pagoda

Built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong in the 11th century, One Pillar Pagoda holds a story with it. The court records state that the Emperor was childless when he dreamt of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara handing him a baby boy while sitting on a lotus flower. It was after this that Ly Thai Tong married a peasant girl and bore a son. Henceforth, on the advice of a monk named Thien Tue, the Emperor built the temple with a single pillar in the middle of the lotus pond as seen in the dream. This construction was a token of gratitude to the Bodhisattva and Goddess Quan The Am Bo Tat.

Soon many people flocked to the temple to receive the blessings and pray for a long life of the Monarch. It also became an important site of religious practices on Vesak or birthday of Buddha. However, the temple was attacked by the French after the First Indo-China War which destroyed a considerable portion of the temple in 1954. But soon, the Vietnamese government undertook renovation activities in 1955 and reconstructed the pillar of the Pagoda.

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