Tran Quoc Pagoda – Hanoi

Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of the oldest pagodas in Vietnam and a cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism. The pagoda was built on a southern peninsula of West Lake is one of the oldest pagodas in Hanoi. It is said that, the pagoda was built under the reign of King Ly Nam De (544-548) under its original name of Khai Quoc (National Founder). It was originally built on the bank of the West Lake and the Red River. In the time of King Le Kinh Tong (1600-1618), the pagoda was removed to the Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) Islet due to the river bank crumbling and was renamed Tran Quoc (National Defence).

The architecture is the result of the current major restoration that took place in 1815. It includes porch, main altar, common room, ancestors room, tomb towers. The large brick tower is 6 sided and symbolizes the recent stages of the life of Buddha with 11 floors and 66 statues of Buddha. The beautiful island is reflected on green water of West Lake. The best time to visit the Pagoda is in a romantic sunset.

Behind the worshipping shrine is the Buddhist trinity followed by corridors, ten shrines and the belfry. In the pagoda, there are many valuable statues, such as the red lac­statue trimmed with gold of Sakyamouni Buddha’s Parinirvana and many ancient stelae with the old- one made in 1639 by Doctoral Law- Nguyen Xuan Chinh recording the pagoda’s history.

In 1959, on his visit to Vietnam, Indian Prime Minister Razendia Prasat offered the Pagoda a bodhi tree as a gift. The plant was grafted from the holy Bodhi tree where Sakyamuni sat in zen (meditation) position 25 centuries ago. Now the Bodhi tree is green and luxuriant, shading part of the pagoda’s yard.

Visiting Tran Quoc pagoda travelers have a chance to enjoy intricate architecture in the harmony of surrounding green trees, emerald lake, forming a beautiful landscape. From Tran Quoc pagoda you could take a leisurely walk to the nearby Quan Thanh temple, West lake and Truc Bach lake.

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