In the beautiful scenery of Thay Pagoda
- on Jul 29, 2020       By: BN
The beauty of Hanoi is not limited to the heritages sites in the heart of the capital, but its surroundings are also full of places that are both lovely and pleasant to visit, including the Thay pagoda, some twenty kilometres to the Southwest.
Thay Pagoda (Master's pagoda), also called “Thien Phuc” (Heavenly Blessing Pagoda), located in the Quoc Oai district, originates from the Ly dynasty in the 11th century. It owes its reputation to Tu Dao Hanh, a prominent figure revered for his dedication to teaching and providing medical care to those in need. He was also one of the founders of water puppet shows.
Venerable bronze statue Tu Dao Hanh
Initially a pagoda named “Huong Hai am”, the site was enlarged by King Ly Nhan Tong into a set of two pagodas, Cao pagoda (Top) located on a mountain and Duoi pagoda (Bottom) or Master's pagoda.
Thay Pagoda, land of Vietnamese water puppets
Nestled at the foot of Sai Son Mountain and in front of Long Dau Mountain, Thay pagoda sits on land in the shape of a dragon as geomancy dictates, giving a picturesque view of Long Chieu Lake (Dragon Pond) to the South. On an island in the middle of the green lake sits the Thuy Dinh pavilion which, on two floors, with a curved roof, resembles a picturesque lotus. On the occasion of municipal festivals, this haven of tranquillity will happily transform into a theatre of the famous puppets.
Access path to Cao Pagoda
On two sides of the courtyard are two small covered bridges dating from 1602, Nhat Tien and Nguyen Tien, which constitute the moustache on the dragon's jaw. From here, an island where the temple dedicated to "Tam phu" (Three palaces) sits is accessible by the Nhat Tien bridge. On the other side, the Cao pagoda in the mountains is served by Mount Nguyet Tien. Behind stands the bell and drum pavilions, embodying the ears of the dragon.
Parallel, the three buildings composing the Thay pagoda are baptized respectively chua Ha (Lower), chua Trung (Middle pagoda) and chua Thuong (Upper), housing the secular statues of the Buddha and his servants. It is in the Thuong Pagoda, located at the highest point, that you will contemplate the statues presenting the three lives (Monk, Buddha and Prince) of the monk magician Tu Dao Hanh whose history was steeped in mysteries.
Thay Pagoda Festival
The Thay Pagoda Festival which takes place between the 5th and 7th of the 3rd lunar month is its most important annual event. A major religious place, it is also an opportunity for pilgrims and visitors to attend numerous traditional music and games events, including its cultural speciality, aquatic puppets.
Not far away, in the neighbouring district, you can easily combine the discovery of Thay pagoda with that of Tay Phuong pagoda known for its exceptional architecture, another well-deserved stopover in the suburbs of Hanoi.
Location of Thay pagoda: Sai Son commune, Quoc Oai district, Hanoi