One Pillar Pagoda Travel Guide

One of the Vietnam’s most popular tourist attractions, the One Pillar Pagoda is located in Hanoi. It’s an excellent example of traditional Vietnamese architecture with nearly 1,000 years of history.

The pagoda was built in the mid-11th century by Emperor Ly Thai. The childless emperor dreamed he met the Goddess of Mercy (Avalokiteshvrara) who handed him a newborn baby from her perch on a floating lotus. The emperor awoke and immediately married a peasant, and in just one year he had a newborn son.

As a tribute to the goddess, he built this pagoda and lotus pond to resemble the setting in his dream. It receives a lot of attention during high season, but contending with crowds is worth the chance to see this important site.

When the French withdrew in the 1950s, they burned down the original pagoda to spite the Vietnamese. The structure that stands today is a smaller recreation with more concrete and less wood.

Getting There & Away

Hanoi is a major transport hub in Vietnam, with Noi Bai International Airport offering flights to Vietnamese and greater Southeast Asian destinations. The railway connects all the way to Ho Chi Minh City, while buses fill in the hinterland. One-pillar pagoda is next to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum on Ngoc Ha Street.

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