Originally built in 1049 of wood, the pagoda was vandalised and burned by the French in 1954 as they retreated from Hanoi, only to be rebuilt the following year.
The pagoda was built by Emperor Ly Thai To during the Ly Dynasty.
Legend states that the Emperor had a dream that he was given a son by the goddess of mercy, Quan An, while seated on a lotus flower. Soon afterwards, the Emperor married a peasant girl and had a son. The Emperor built the pagoda to honour the goddess, and it contains a statue of her and many sculptures of lotus flowers.
The One Pillar Pagoda is popular with childless couples and is also believed to have miraculous healing powers. During the summer, the surrounding pond is covered in lotus blossoms.
As you’re facing the pagoda stairs, turn to your left and back and you’ll spot a slightly hidden entrance to another pagoda. It’s worth popping in to this pretty spot when it's open -- it’s closed for a few hours in the middle of the day -- most visitors miss it, meaning it's a peaceful retreat.
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 24th October, 2014.