Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Quan Su Pagoda and Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi

Quan Su Pagoda is 4-5 blocks southwest of Hoan Kiem Lake and has served as the headquarters of the Vietnamese Buddhist Association since 1858.  "Quan Su" is derived from an ancient word for "embassy: in the 15th century, ambassadors came to offer tribute to Vietnam and the Quan Su building was constructed to welcome them.  Since they were all Buddhists, the building was built as a temple for worship, dedicated to Buddha.

Quan Su Pagoda

At the end of the Vietnamese Le Dynasty (1428-1788), many pagodas in Vietnam were destroyed, but Quan Su was saved and was opened to the public in 1822.  The temple is full of worshipers and visitors, with a peaceful atmosphere inside this beautiful space.

 Inside Quan Su Pagoda

A few blocks away, on an island in Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ngoc Song Temple is the most-visited temple in Hanoi. The temple was built in the 18th century in commemoration of the 13th century military leader Tran Hung Dao who was was instrumental in the defeat of two Mongol invasions led by Kublai Khan in the 1280s, driving the Mongols back into China, which they had conquered in the previous decade.  The temple is built on Jade Island in Hoan Kiem Lake and is accessed by the Rising Sun Bridge.

 Rising Sun Bridge and entrance to Ngoc Song Temple

The inside of the temple has alters dedicated to Tran Hung Dao and displays commemorating the soft-shell turtles who live in Hoan Kiem Lake, including a 250kg (551 pound) preserved turtle found in the lake.

 Temple grounds

 Inside the temple

The turtle

The Quan Su Pagoda and the Ngoc Son Temple have offered two fabulous views of historic and traditional religious settings and have made for a great afternoon of exploration.

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