Voi Phuc Temple, popularly known as the Kneeling Elephants Temple is dedicated to Royal Highness Linh Lang, son of King Ly Thanh Tong. The temple has a commendable architecture, beautiful carvings, two kneeling elephants in front and a scenic surrounding. Every year, locals hold a festival from February 9-11 of the Lunar calendar to commemorate the virtue of Linh Lang.
The Voi Phuc Temple has been named for the stone statue found to be kneeling at the entrance of the shrine. Dedicated to Prince Linh Lang, the temple had been constructed by Ly Thai Tong, the reigning King who believed his son to be a God. The ancient temple occupies the place where the mighty elephant knelt in order to allow Linh Lang to mount and ride into the battlefield. It was located within the Thu Le village initially with the temple dedicated to the Western Guardian God. The Thu Le Zoo lies to the North of the temple that is surrounded by beautiful gardens and overlooks a picturesque body of water.
Voi Phuc Temple History
The Voi Phuc temple was built in remembrance of Prince Hoang Chan, alternatively known as Linh Lang Dai Vuong or the young aristocrat. He is believed to be a saint sent by the Gods to defend the land against the Tong invasion. Legend has it that an elephant had knelt in front of him just before he went out to the battlefield. The temple that was constructed in his honor thus has a pair of giant elephants shown kneeling at the entrance hence the name, Voi Phuc.
While the temple remains standing, it had to be renovated several times since independence from the French Colonial rule in 1953. The architecture of the shrine can be traced back to both the 19th and the 20th century. The configuration of various statues and walls plus entrance of the temple have been built according to the feng shui practices.
Voi Phuc Temple Architecture
The present Voi Phuc temple consists of an entrance leading to three different gates and then into the main temple area. In addition to the elephant statues, the temple houses an astounding collection of artifacts including bells, traditional tables along with matching sedan chairs and an intricately carved throne as well as ancient tablets, stone statues depicting the holy cranes and horses along with inscriptions in the Nom and Han scripts. There is also a sacred well of Gieng ban nguyet situated in the middle of the courtyard signifying abundance and prosperity to the worshippers.
Voi Phuc Temple Festival
The tourists can witness the grand celebrations taking place at the Voi Phuc Temple between the 9th and 11th day of the second lunar month. It is known as the Voi Phuc Temple Festival and is hugely popular in Vietnam. Linh Lang, the God is commemorated with fanfare during the gala event. However, a three day cultural event happens to be the highlight of the festival with poets, writers, musicians and sports persons taking part enthusiastically.
How to Reach Voi Phuc Temple
Voi Phuc Temple is located at 360B Kim Ma Street, Ngoc Khanh Ward within the Ba Dình district of Hanoi. It is best to visit early in the morning when the weather is cool and the area is not too crowded. The temple is included in a number of walking tours of Hanoi with tourists eager to explore the city on foot finding it to be most affordable. However, one can also take Bus No. 32 or 34 from Dien Bien Phu and alight at Kim Ma Street. The temple is at a distance of 6 km from the Old Quarter with metered taxis taking the passengers to the destination within 20 minutes.
The Voi Phuc Temple located in the vicinity of Thu Le Park is considered to be one of the Western Guardian God Temples of Thang Long Citadel. Built in 1065 to honor Linh Lang, the Prince who was believed to have been sent by God to defend the locality from the Tong invaders, the temple is one of the most visited sites in Hanoi today.
Photos of Voi Phuc Temple
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