Dong Co Temple Hanoi

Dong Co Temple is located in Buoi, Tay Ho, Hanoi. The temple was built in the Ly Dynasty, and was ranked as a national historic and cultural site. We at Lotussia Travel provide a half day bike tour to visit Dong Co temple.

Dong Co temple map

Dong Co temple was originally constructed on the bank of To Lich River during the Ly Dynasty (11th century) to worship the Dong Co (Bronze Drum) God, a unique symbol of Vietnamese culture. Not only being a typical Vietnamese musical instrument, the ancient Vietnamese bronze drum is also a prayerful holy piece of Vietnamese for thousand years.

For the very first time, this temple was located on the Dong Co Mountain in Dan Ne, Yen Dinh, Thanh Hoa. It was orally told that King Ly Thai To (1010 – 1028) came staying in Truong An citadel in order to be about to fight against Chiem Thanh (Champa Kingdom).

At one night, the King had a strange dream that he met a man who wore velvet robes and told him that: “I am the god of Dong Co Mountain. I know that the King goes to conquer the southern enemies and wish to stand by his side to help him”. Consequently, the King successfully conquered the enemy’s land. To show his respectful honor to the god of Dong Co Mountain, the King commanded to build a temple in the left of the eastern citadel after he returned to his mainland.

Right after the King Ly Thai To dead, his son, Ly Thai Tong was pointed to become the next King of the country. Like his great father, King Ly Thai Tong successfully ruled his country. Strangely, he also had a dream which was the same as his father’s at the night before he became King. He also dreamt of the god who told him the king’s brothers including Duc Thanh Vuong, Dong Chinh Vuong and Vu Duc Vuong were making a plan to get him down. The three princes mentioned had been about to murder Ly Thai Tong inside his citadel the following morning; however, thanks to the prediction of the God in his dream, the crown prince ordered his commanders to protect him and was able to put down the revolt.

After being pointed to be the new king, King Ly Thai Tong ordered to build another temple of Dong Co god on the right side of the royal citadel and choose the 25th day of 3rd lunar month to hold an “Oath-swearing” ceremony there. When working on the site of temple the workers were commanded to build a tall altar decorated many flying flags in front of the citadel and ordered all his people to attend.

The Dong Co god’s worshipping tablet was placed in the middle of the altar. All the military and civilian mandarins from the eastern part of the country came into the temple, knelt and swore, “If as children we are undutiful towards our parents and if as subjects, we are unfaithful or disloyal to the King, we will be surely killed by the God”. Later, the date of the ceremony was changed to the 4th day of the fourth lunar month and was held annually through the Tran (13th and 14th centuries) and Le (15th century) dynasties. It was developed into a festival later.

Combining with Dong Co Festival, the bronze drum traditionally become a symbol of physical strength and the ancient sacred value of Vietnam. The festival was a unique, consolidating the morale and traditions of our nation.

The special architecture of Dong Co Temple includes only of a three-door gate, the main building and a lower chamber, with valuable antiques. Dong Co temple was located near the northern side of the Thang Long Citadel. It is not only a landmark but also an outstanding example of the Ly Dynasty’s cultural heritage.

Bike tours to Dong Co temple

But Thap pagoda Bac Ninh

But Thap Pagoda is located in Dinh To, Thuan Thanh, Bac Ninh. But Thap pagoda is a quite ancient pagoda and now considered as one of Vietnam popular destinations in spirit life of people. The pagoda was built under Tran Thanh Tong dynasty. At that time, Huyen Quang monk was a nun in this pagoda. He had the stone tower of 9 floors built with the lotus shape.

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Differently with other Vietnam pagodas and temples, the architecture of But Thap pagoda is mainly the combination between “Noi Cong Ngoai Quoc” shape and “Tam” shape. “Noi Cong Ngoai Quoc” shape looks like letter “I” inside a squre and “Tam” shape like three horizontal parallel lines. All the buildings face the South, traditional architecture of the Vietnamese. The pagoda is balanced in the center area but very natural in the surrounding area. The center area includes eight houses which are set in an axis which are three gates entrance, bell tower, fore sanctuary, upper sanctuary, Tich Thien Am palace, middle house, Mother of goddess palace, and back house.

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There are two lines of stele house in the two sides and it runs along the length of the pagoda. At the left side and at the back of the lobby, there is a five-room house which is known as the house of patriarch and used for the worshipping place of the Buddhist priest Chuyet Chuyet, Minh Hanh. There are towers besides which are the tombs of the nun. The architecture of But Thap is also deeply marked by Chinese which are typically the stone bridge and Bao Nghiem tower.

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In the corridor around the upper palace, there are many carving pictures of wood and stone. There are totally 51 carving pictures with many different topics with the generalization in the material, style and it is generalized in terms of time. The carving patterns are lively with the artistry characteristic with the topics of trees, flowers, birds, animals.

But Thap is one of the few pagodas which keeps the unique architecture.

But Thap pagoda map

Trips to But Thap pagoda

Phat Tich pagoda Bac Ninh

Phat Tich Pagoda is located in Phat Tich Village, Bac Ninh. The pagoda, 25km north-east of the capital, is located on Lan Kha Mountain. It was built in 1057 during the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong (1054-72).

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In 1066, the king ordered a tower to be built at the south of the mountain. Legend has it that a monolithic green stone Buddha statue showed up right when the tower later collapsed.

The pagoda was reduced to ashes by French colonialists in 1948 and only restored in 1987.

Entering via the main gate, a beautiful stone paved road leads you to the main Buddha worshipping place. Five pairs of kneeling stone kylins, elephants and horses welcome guests from afar. These figures, along with the Buddha statue, which survived during wartime, were recognised by the Viet Nam Records Book as the biggest stone Buddha from the Ly dynasty and the largest carved sacred animals in the country.

Going deep inside, you are surprised by a row of 18 Arhat statues with different appearances; one with folded hands paying obeisance to the Buddha and another meditating on a lotus pedestal. There are also altars of Ly and Tran kings, who first built and expanded the pagoda.

Leave for the giant Buddha Amitabha statue, installed outdoor on the mountain in 2010. The stone statue is 27m tall and weighs 3,000 tonnes. It was adapted from a similar structure from the Ly Dynasty.

When excavating the pagoda from 1949-51, archaeologists found many old stone sculptures carved with flowers and dragons, bird goddess statues from the 17th century and a piece engraved with the head of a fairy. These are now on display at the National History Museum.

Referring to Phat Tich Pagoda, people often recall Tu Thuc Gap Tien (Tu Thuc Meets a Fairy). In the old days, there were a lot of peonies on Lan Kha Mountain and in the pagoda. One day, a young woman visited the pagoda to see the flowers. She carelessly broke a branch from a tree and was fined by the monks. Lucky for her, a local scholar Tu Thuc also visited the pagoda and took off his coat to compensate for the broken branch. They became friends and often met at the pagoda. The woman invited Tu Thuc to visit her house. She took him to a peony forest and a cave on the mountainside. Upon entering, he saw an imperial palace with high walls and stone footsteps. She revealed that she was a fairy and they got married.

Every year, people flock to the pagoda to take part in a peony festival on the fourth day of the first month in the lunar calendar. They enjoy watching the flowers, listening to quan ho (love duets) and poem recitations while playing traditional games.

Phat Tich pagoda map

Trips to Phat Tich pagoda

Den Do temple Bac Ninh

Den Do temple was built in 11th century in Dinh Bang, Tu So, Bac Ninh, northern Vietnam. According to Monk Ly Van Hanh, the place used to build that temple was a holy place that has 8 dragons come to visit. It is also said that in the past, near the temple, there used to have a forest and Tieu Tuong river flow around; due to the Feng Shui, Vietnamese people believe to build a temple there will bring the prosperity to the country. For many dynasty of Vietnamese feudal, Kings always took highly consideration in repairing and widening that temple. The temple also has the unique folk architecture of Vietnam.

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In 1952, the French took and destroyed the whole temple and it was not until 1989 that the temple was recovered but the total square was limited. The total square of Do temple is 31.250 m2 included 21 items. In the center of the temple, there is altar to worship King Ly and around this, it is the house of patriarch, front sanctuary, Phuong Dinh house, palanquin house…

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Do temple is an example for the architecture of temple and pagoda in the North of Vietnam. The first thing you can see when visiting that temple is the main gate with the image of 5 dragons carving on the top of the gate because dragon is the symbol for the power of King.

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Besides, Do temple is also a center of culture and history in the North of Vietnam. Each year, many people come here to worship and ask for good health, luckiness, prosperity… It then becomes a center of culture in the North of Vietnam.

Den Do temple map

Trips to Den Do temple