One-Pillar Pagoda (Chùa Một Cột)

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One-Pillar Pagoda
One-Pillar Pagoda

The One Pillar Pagoda is a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. As you visit Hanoi, you may come to various other monuments, parks and historical places. Yet, the One-Pillar Pagoda reflects the architectural splendor that the country has grown.

One-Pillar Pagoda
One-Pillar Pagoda

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The Legendary story:

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.

One-Pillar Pagoda
One-Pillar Pagoda

Formation:

Emperor Ly Thai Tong had this temple constructed in gratitude for the mentioned significant legendary event in 1049, by erecting a pillar in the middle of a lotus pond, and a temple of lotus-shape, exactly similar to what he saw in the dream. This unique shape of the pagoda together with the special story has been of great absorption to hundreds of thousands of international tourists!

This Pagoda was located in what was then the Tây Cấm Garden in Thạch Bảo, Vĩnh Thuận district in the capital Thăng Long. It was built of wood on a single stone pillar 1.25 m in diameter, and it is designed to resemble a lotus blossom, which is a Buddhist symbol of purity, since a lotus blossoms in a muddy pond. Before the pagoda was opened, prayers were held for the longevity of the monarch, hence being considered a temple at that time. A Buddha-bathing ceremony was held annually by the monarch, and it attracted monks and laymen alike to the ceremony. The monarch would then free a bird, which was followed by the people.