Located in the western part of Hanoi city, near Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Ba Dinh district, The One Pillar Pagoda (common name as Diên Hựu Tự – everlasting happiness and luckiness), is one of the most special architectures in Vietnam. It is also a sacred Buddhist temple that reflects a long history of Hanoi City as well. Moreover, the unique shape of the pagoda together with its special magical story has been of great absorption to hundreds of thousands of international tourists. You can easily find its image on many famous Vietnamese paintings, money, souvenirs, even the miniatures of this hallowed pagoda.
As legend, in Ly Dynasty, the Emperor Ly Thai To had no children despite of his old age. He used to go to pagodas to pray for a child so much that one day in his dream, he met the Bodhisattva of Mercy (Phat ba Quan Am) bringing a male infant on her hand, sitting on a great lotus flower in a square-shaped lotus pond on the western side of Thang Long Citadel. Just a few months later, like a miracle, the Queen gave birth to a male child as per the dream of her husband. In order to express his great gratitude to the Bodhisattva of Mercy, in 1049, the Emperor ordered the construction of a pagoda supported by only one pillar to resemble the lotus seat of his dream, like the way in which a lotus emerging out of the water.
The special feature of this pagoda is that it was built of wood on a single stone pillar 1.25 m in diameter, and it is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, which is a Buddhist symbol of purity (meaning rising out of a sorrow sea). During the Ly Dynasty time, the temple was the site of an annual royal ceremony on the occasion of Vesak, the birthday of Gautama Buddha. Every year when it came to April 8th in lunar calendar, the King came to the pagoda for Buddha bathing ceremony and afterwards, released a bird.
In 1105, King Ly Nhan Tong renovated the pagoda by adding two white-top towers, a Linh Chieu pond, and a bronze bell. The bell was so large and heavy that people could not hang it out on the pagoda and had to lay it on the rice field named Quy Dien Chung (Bell of turtle farmland). Unluckily, when the Ming enemy invaded Vietnam in 1426, they smelted the bell to make weapons and caused its existence only in historical book in the mourning regret of local people.
As time went by, the pagoda was succumbed too many ravages caused by the war. In 1954, the French Union forces destroyed the pagoda before withdrawing from Vietnam after the First Indochina War, and it was rebuilt afterwards by the new Vietnamese government. What you see today of the pagoda is a new form recovered in 1955 when it was refurbished with a concrete pillar from its remnants. According to famous Vietnamese historians, the One Pillar Pagoda today is quite smaller than the old prototype in Ly Dynasty. However, not only the local people but Vietnamese people still strongly worship and consider it as one of the most hallowed pagodas in Hanoi. They believe that if someone prays here, he/she would get prosperity and healthiness.
Opening times: 8.00 – 17.00 every day. Free entrance
Note: Long clothes are highly recommended when you visit this pagoda.