One Pillar Pagoda: an Old Unique Temple in Hanoi

Hanoi is known for having many historical relics and unique architectural works. Each project has a different beauty and meaning.

One Pillar Pagoda is a special work built on one-column impressive architecture.

one pillar temple hanoi
A column keeps all buildings, called One Pillar Pagoda.

One Pillar Pagoda

Address: Chua Mot Cot Street, Doi Can Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi Vietnam

One Pillar Pagoda is located in the center of Ba Dinh district, next to the relic complex of Ba Dinh Square and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The pagoda is like an ancient lotus in the heart of the capital of Vietnam.

You can combine visiting the pagoda with Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum, Presidential Palace, Thang Long Citadel … also located in that area.

Learning about One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda is also known as Mat Pagoda, Dien Huu Pagoda, or Lien Hoa Dai. This temple with unique architecture was built during the reign of King Ly Thai Tong in 1049.

one pillar pagoda hanoi
A lake covers the one-pillar temple.

Legend has it that, King Ly Thai Tong dreamed of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara meditating on a bright lotus, and she stretched out her hand to lead the king to the lotus platform. After waking up, the king immediately ordered the One Pillar Pagoda to be built according to what he had seen in that dream.

The temple was concreted with a typical one-pillar structure. The architecture looks like a lotus flower growing in the middle of Linh Chieu lake. It is a combination of many different types from sculpture, carving, and painting. The water surface is also a beauty, a mirror that brightens up the temple above.

One Pillar Pagoda has a square block with each side of 3m. Below is a stone pillar 4m high, 1.2m in diameter, consisting of 2 blocks attached to each other.

On the body of the pillar are 8 wide wooden wings that look like a blooming lotus. Above the roof of the pagoda is the moon, and on both sides are two dragon heads adoring the moon. The pagoda has 4 roofs with 4 curved edges and embossed dragon heads.

To place the ceremony on the temple floor, you have to go up 13 steps. Inside the pagoda is a statue of Lady Buddha sitting on a golden lotus flower.

Over many dynasties, witnessing the change of history, the pagoda has also been restored and repaired many times. Until today, the architecture of the temple has also changed from the original.

However, with its typical architecture, One Pillar Pagoda has been confirmed by the Asian Records organization as the most unique architectural temple in 2012.

one pillar pagoda hanoi vietnam
The statue inside the One-pillar Pagoda.

Notes to know before visiting the One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda is a historical site and also a sacred place, so when coming here, you need to pay attention to the following:

  • Choose clothes that are discreet, polite, suitable to the fine customs and culture of the Vietnamese people.
  • Behave properly, keep order, and yield to each other when entering the temple to worship.
  • The temple area is very small, the aisles are narrow, so when ordering or standing for the ceremony, you should not jostle or push each other, you should queue in order.
  • For a famous site like One Pillar Pagoda, most of the tourists coming here want to take souvenir photos. So, while shooting, you should also keep order, should not be noisy, avoid affecting others.

The festive season of One Pillar Pagoda

On the 8th day of the fourth lunar month, 1049, after completing the Dien Huu Temple, Ly Thai Tong invited the monks to hold the Buddha bathing ceremony here.

Since then, every year on this day, the people of Thang Long citadel have organized a festival to pray for blessings. After each ceremony, everyone releases animals (often birds) to show their sincerity.

One Pillar Pagoda enters the festive season filled with bright red lanterns and paper flags.

Especially on the occasion of the first Lunar New Year, people from all over the country flock here to attend the activities of lighting up the temple and offer incense sticks to pray for peace and happiness for a new year.

If you have the opportunity to visit Hanoi, do not miss One Pillar Pagoda in your journey.

Coming there, you will feel a quiet and peaceful space; and especially more understanding about Vietnamese architecture as well as the talent of the ancient artisans.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.