Bach Ma Temple

Bach Ma Temple

Hanoi's oldest

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Bach Ma or White Horse Temple is beautiful, well-maintained and bustling, serving as a good example of what small temples in Vietnam are all about.

Travelfish says:

Reputed to be Hanoi's oldest temple, it was originally built in the ninth century by King Ly Thai To to worship Bach Ma. The white horse is said to have helped the king out when the walls of the Hanoi Citadel he was building kept collapsing by using his hooves to delineate an area the walls should be built instead.

The horse that helped a king. Or at least, a replica. : Samantha Brown.
The horse that helped a king. Or at least, a replica. Photo: Samantha Brown

According to a sign on the temple grounds, it was originally built on Long Do Mountain (we're not sure where that is these days) until it was moved to its current location, tucked into the centre of the Old Quarter, to act as the guard of the east of Thang Long in the 18th century during the Ly Dynasty. A statue of the temple's eponymous horse today stands beside the altar.

The temple has been repaired many times, the sign notes, and in 1839 a shrine to Confucius was added to the left of the temple, while a Phoenix altar was constructed to make offerings to the seasons. The current structure is typical of Hanoi pagodas.

A busy day at Bach Ma. : Samantha Brown.
A busy day at Bach Ma. Photo: Samantha Brown

Bach Ma is still very actively used for worship—note the extended hours on the 1st and 15th of each lunar month to accommodate those who regularly come with offerings to burn incense and pray.

Contact details for Bach Ma Temple

Address: 76 Hang Buom, Hanoi
Coordinates (for GPS): 105º51'3.96" E, 21º2'8.52" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps

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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