One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda

A symbol of Hanoi

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Located in Ba Dinh Square right by the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the One Pillar Pagoda is one of the most recognisable symbols of Hanoi.

Travelfish says:

Having said that, it's not much to actually see in person. It's a modest, wooden sanctuary set on, naturally, one concrete pillar, over a pond that blooms with lotus blossoms during summer. The shrine is dedicated to Quan Am, the Goddess of Mercy, and is designed to look like a lotus, a symbol of enlightenment in Buddhism.

The One Pillar Pagoda looking somewhat gloomy on a February day. : Samantha Brown.
The One Pillar Pagoda looking somewhat gloomy on a February day. Photo: Samantha Brown

The pagoda is said to have originally been built in 1049 by Emperor Ly Thai Tong (who preceded Ly Thanh Tong, who was responsible for founding the Temple of Literature in 1070). Legend holds that the emperor, lacking male heirs, had a dream that he was handed a son by Quan Am, who was seated on a lotus flower when she appeared to him. Soon afterwards, the emperor found a wife and had a son. The emperor then built the pagoda to honour the goddess.

Today it contains a statue of her and sculptures of lotus flowers. Worshippers—and you'll find plenty of them here—climb a short flight of concrete steps to see the statue and make their offerings. The One Pillar Pagoda is popular with childless couples and is also believed to have miraculous healing powers.

Of course, the original pagoda no longer stands. It was most recently vandalised and burned by the French in 1954 as they retreated from Hanoi, only to be rebuilt by the Communist government the following year.

Contact details for One Pillar Pagoda

Address: Beside Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi
Coordinates (for GPS): 105º50'0.6" E, 21º2'8.52" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Free

Reviewed by

Samantha Brown is a reformed news reporter. She now edits most of the stuff you read on Travelfish.org, except for when you find a typo, and then that's something she wasn't allowed to look at.

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