One Pillar Pagoda is one of the most iconic Pagodas of Asia located in Hanoi, Vietnam. What makes this one special is the history behind it, and the fact that is was built in a pond and on only one pillar. The construction of this structure took place in 1049 by the order of Emperor Ly Thai Tong of the Ly Dynasty. (Photo by Jorge Láscar via Flickr)
The Shape of One Pillar Pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda is shaped like a lotus blossom, the Buddhist symbol of purity, which stands in a muddy pond. The pagoda or the shrine itself is made out of wood and stands on a stone pillar. It is said that the temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, Quan The Am Bo Tat. This temple is a place of peace and tranquility that attracts many locals and tourists to the capital city of Thailand. This sacred building sits near the Ba Dinh Square and may be known as the Yanyou Temple or Lotus Pagoda by the locals.
History of One Pillar Pagoda
As mentioned earlier, the temple was constructed during the reign of Emperor Ly Thai Tong from 1028 to 1054. During his time as emperor, he had no children, so he was heirless. One night he was visited by the Quan The Am Bo Tat in his sleep, who handed him a baby son.
Later on, the Emperor meet and married a peasant girl who gave him his baby son. Grateful of finally having a child and an heir, The Emperor built the temple in the pond in dedication and gratitude for this blessing. In the dream, the Goddess of Mercy was sitting in a lotus blossom in the middle of a pond. The events of that dream inspired the unique structure of the One Pillar Pagoda.
During the 1000 years, the temple had seen many renovations, the first of which took place only 100 years after the construction was finished. Ever since the construction in the 10th century, it had stood in its place until the 1950s when it was completely destroyed by the French. Fortunately, it was possible to rebuild One Pillar Pagoda exactly as it was.
The temple has religious importance to the Buddhist people of Thailand since ancient times. People come to visit and even perform rituals. The past rulers of the country have visited the shrine along with the people and monks to performed the Buddha-bathing ceremony every year. This ceremony was always followed by releasing a bird either by the monarch or the people attending the ritual. This ceremony had gained the rulers many more followers among both the people and the monks.
Both the original structure and the reconstruction of the One Pillar Pagoda stand on a stone pillar, holding a wooden structure that resembles a lotus. The stone is made out of two pieces that are joined masterfully to look as it is just one large stone pillar. The pillar is 1.25 m in diameter and 4 m high holding the 3 m2 wooden shrine. Inside the temple, there is a gilded statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Quan The Am Bo Tat, which resembles the dream.
There are no restrictions for visiting the One Pillar Pagoda but it is recommended to wear something which will cover your torso, arms, and legs to respect the sacred grounds around the temple. It is not considered disrespectful by the locals for tourists to wear something other than this dressing code but it is better to respect the norms. It is best to wear something formal if possible.
|Location||Ong Ich Khiem St Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi 100000 Vietnam|
|How to get to?|
|Means of Transportation||You can reach the One Pillar Pagoda by bus, taxi, and hiring a motorbike|
|Every Day||08:00 – 17:00|
-The best time to visit is early in the morning to catch the most beautiful scenery around the temple, the gardens, and trees surrounding the pond.
-Opening hours may change and become shorter on days that people come for ceremonies. It is recommended to check the hours before visiting.