Tran Quoc - the oldest Pagoda in Hanoi city
- on May 13, 2019       By: Hoàng
Tran Quoc pagoda is the oldest pagoda in Vietnam with more than 1500 years old. It was built in the 6th century in the Ly Nam De dynasty. This is one of “must visit” places for a Hanoi city tour.
It is located in a small island of West lake, about 3 km from the center of Hanoi, by Thanh Nien Road, between Truc Bach Lake and West Lake. It is easy to access from Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex to the north.
Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi city Photo: Jimmy Tran/Shuttestock
Dating back 1500 years ago, during the Ly Nam De dynasty (541 – 547) Tran Quoc Pagoda was built by the Bank of Red River and named Khai Quoc Pagoda (mean Opening country pagoda) and to the Le Thai Tong dynasty which is 500 years later, the pagoda renamed An Quoc pagoda (mean Pacification of The Realm).
Because the temple was built by the bank of the river, the pagoda could not avoid the landslide-accretion of nature. It was negative impact on the pagoda. Therefore, in 1615, the pagoda was relocated to in a mound (Kim Nguu or golden buffalo) in Waste Lake. At that time, there was no road to connect to the pagoda. Trinh Lord built a road to across to the mound. The road was named Co Ngu Street till today, the road now is Thanh Nien street.
After 2 renaming, at the Le Huy Tong dynasty (1681 – 1705), the pagoda renamed Tran Bac (mean Guardian of the North Pagoda).
However, the name Tran Quoc pagoda became the main name till now.
The pagoda is located in the West Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Hanoi capital, the place that creates a poetic beauty, serenity and sanctuary of the pagoda. It is a beautiful place to enjoy the sunset over the lake.
With the style of ancient pagoda architecture, Tran Quoc pagoda has 3 main houses: The front house, the incense burning house and the upper house.
From the main road, leading to the Tam Quan Gate, a typical classical architectural gate style of pagoda or temple. The gate has 3 doors, the middle and 2 smaller ones in two sides, all leads to the front house, incense burning house and upper house.
The highlight of the Tran Quoc Pagoda is the ancient stupas (tomb towers) located behind the main pagoda from the 18th century. The most remarkable one is a 15m high tower with 11 floors built in 1998. This one is the highest one and could be seen from far distance.
In front of the yard, there is a luxuriant Budhi tree, this is a gift from Indian president when he visited Vietnam in 1959. This tree was a part from the big Budhi tree in India where the Buddhist practiced religion 25 centuries ago.
According to the Wanderlust website, Tran Quoc Pagoda is in the list top 3 of the 10 most beautiful pagodas in the world. This is an attractive place for international tourists to visit and learn about Vietnam culture, Vietnam religion, customs and beliefs as well as enjoy a peaceful beauty in this thousand year old pagoda.
Budhi Tree in Tran Quoc Pagoda