Among a number of beauty-spots in Hanoi, the One-Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam’s two most iconic pagodas, side by side the Perfume Pagoda is a must for anyone visiting the capital.
It was recognized as the pagoda which has most unique architecture in Asia by the Asian Record Book Center at Faridabad, India on October 10.
The pagoda, formally known as Dien Huu Tu, which literally means “long lasting happiness and good luck” is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi. It owns a pride of reflecting the architectural splendor that the country has grown.
The legend has it that, ageing Emperor Ly Thai Tong of the Ly dynasty, who had no children, used to go to pagodas to pray to Buddha for a son. One night, he dreamt that he was granted a private audience to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who was seated on a great lotus flower in a square-shaped lotus pond on the western side of Thang Long Citadel, gave the king a baby boy.
When the Queen gave birth to a male child, the Emperor ordered the construction of a pagoda supported by only one pillar to resemble the lotus seat of his dream in honor of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, built in a style of a lotus emerging out of the water in 1049.
The pagoda has literally gone through the wars. In 1954, the French Union forces destroyed the pagoda before withdrawing from Vietnam after the First Indochina War, and it was rebuilt afterwards.
However, coming to the pagoda today, visitors will see the pagoda in a new form from 1955 when it was refurbished with a concrete pillar from the remnants by the Vietnamese government. Today’s structure is a replica of the original pagoda, which was a larger building.
The Lien Hoa Tower is built in square structure with curving tiled roofs engraved with dragon’s heads. Inside the tower is the statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and the whole tower looks like a floating giant lotus flower on the water.
The pagoda was recognized as a national architectural work on April 28, 1962.
Locals believe that if you pray here, it will invoke well-being and prosperity.
A couple visit the One-Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi – Photo: Kinh Luan