Exploring our land

A lotus blooming on West Lake

Tran Quoc, which looks like a lotus blooming in the middle of West Lake, has been listed among 20 of the world’s most beautiful Buddhist temples by National Geographic magazine.
Located on a small island of West Lake, Tran Quoc is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi. The pagoda was believed to have been built during the dynasty of King Ly Nam De (541-547) and had the name Khai Quoc (Founding the Nation). The Buddhist temple was renamed An Quoc (Peaceful Country) during the reign of King Le Thai Tong (1434-1442), and Tran Quoc (Protecting the Nation) during the reign of King Le Hy Tong (1663-1716).

Tran Quoc pagoda was a Buddhist center of Thang Long (the former name of Hanoi). Kings of the Ly and Tran dynasties visited the pagoda during Tet (lunar new year) and other festive events.

Tran Quoc pagoda looks like a lotus blooming in the middle of West lake. Photo: An Nhien

Tran Quoc is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi. 

Architectural patterns bear Vietnamese cultural traits.

The tower garden at Tran Quoc was built in the 18th century.

Vu Lan Festival held at Tran Quoc Pagoda.

Releasing flower lanterns to pray for peace and prosperity for the country is a traditional Buddhist ritual.

The pagoda is a popular destination of foreign visitors. 

Today, the pagoda still holds a ritual to pray for peace and prosperity for the country on the night of the lunar New Year’s Eve. The sacred ritual, open to all Buddhist followers and visitors, is the most important service held by the pagoda during the year.

In 2016, Tran Quoc was ranked by the UK’s Daily Mail as one of the 16 “most mesmerizing pagodas” in the world.
Tran Quoc has typical Buddhist architecture with three main houses which are Tien Duong (front house), Nha thieu huong (incense burning house) and Thuong Dien (upper house) connected in the shape of the script “Cong” (工).

Behind the upper house is Gac Chuong, which is a three-part house located on the road to the main hall.

The pagoda has an 11-story red temple which is topped by a nine-story gemstone lotus tower. Each story of the 15m-high temple has six gemstone statues of Amitabha Buddha. The nine-story lotus tower was built aligned with the bodhi tree presented by Indian President Prasad in 1959.

With its beautiful scenery and architectural, historical and cultural values, Tran Quoc was listed as the 10th historical structure of Indochina by the French School of the Far East.

By Trinh Bo

Con Dao Prison

Con Dao Prison

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