The original Buddhist pagoda, One Pillar Pagoda, was built in 1049 by Emperor Ly Thai Tong to mark the birth of his heir after a dream in which a goddess gave him a son floating on a lotus.
Fittingly, the structure rises out of a pond covered in lotuses. The name of the temple literally translates to ‘long lasting happiness and good luck’. One of Hanoi’s most sacred sites, it can look a little lacklustre in the winter when the pond is drained. Look for the golden figure of Quan Am upon lotus blossoms that sits in the dim interior.
Hanoi’s One Pillar Pagoda mirrors the architectural splendour that Vietnam has nurtured. Set in the western part of Hanoi near Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda yielded to many devastations brought on by French colonial rule. In 1954 the pagoda was destroyed by the French, but it was rebuilt shortly thereafter. Today the pagoda is open daily from 8am to 5pm. Admission is free.
Where is it located?
The unique pagoda is located in the western part of the city, near Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Ong Ich Khiem St., Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.
The Legendary story of One Pillar Pagoda
According to legend, ageing Emperor Ly Thai To 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.
Months later, 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 the honour of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. According to a theory, the pagoda was built in a style of a lotus emerging out of the water.