The One Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot) has one of the most special architectures in Vietnam. If you get a chance to travel to Hanoi, don’t miss this unique pagoda.
The One Pillar Pagoda is situated in the park behind the museum near Ba Dinh Square at Ong Ich Kiem Street in the Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. The little temple is constructed from wood based on a single stone pillar crafted into the shape of a lotus blossom and has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1955 when the base was destroyed during the French evacuation. The pagoda is often used as a symbol for Hanoi and remains one of the city’s most revered sights in a beautifully tranquil garden setting with benches provided for comfortable contemplation.
The Histiory of the pagoda
Legend claims that the One Pillar Pagoda was built following a dream by the fatherless emperor in which the enlightened being Avalokiteshvara gave him a baby son resting on a lotus flower. Emperor Ly Thai Tong commissioned the pagoda to be created in resemblance of this lotus flower which is also the Buddhist symbol of enlightenment. The Emperor remained in gratitude to the bodhisattva and subsequently to Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy following the birth of his son. Inside the temple a richly gilded statue of Quan Am takes centre place at the main altar. After the temple was completed loyal followers flocked daily to give thanks and support to the emperor, praying to Quan Am for a long and successful sovereignty.
Today, the concrete pillar that supports the tiny wooden pagoda is a replacement for the original one which was blown up by the departing French, it remains unclear how much of the wooden temple is the original one. Another point of interest is a bo tree that grows behind the pagoda which legend state is an offshoot of the one under which Buddha became enlightened – the tree was given as a gift from India in 1958. Before you leave the pagoda also take time to visit the Dien Huu Pagoda which is located close by in a courtyard full of exquisite bonsai trees.
To sum up, today’s structure can be just called the replica of the original pagoda, which was a large building. Locals believe that if you pray here, it will invoke well-beings and prosperity. The pagoda is open daily from 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. and entrance is free. There is one thing to remember that you have to wear full-length clothes as you visit the One-Pillar Pagoda as well as other pagodas in the nation.
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