Tran Quoc Pagoda is located on an islet east of West Lake in Yen Phu Ward, Tay Ho District. Built from the pre-Ly dynasty (Ly Nam De), the pagoda was originally named Khai Quoc.

After many name changes, from the reign of King Le Hy Tong, people used to call it Tran Quoc Pagoda and this name was used until this day. The beauty of the 1500-year-old pagoda is a combination of ancient architectures and the poetic and charming beauty of the West Lake landscape.

The pagoda comprises many layers of buildings and three main houses, namely “Tiền Đường” (Front Hall), a house for burning incense and “Thượng điện”(Upper palace). These buildings are connected with each other to form a Công script (工).

On both sides of the three main buildings are the ancestral house and the stele house. The Pagoday is currently preserving 14 ancient steles. On the stele with inscription date of 1815, there was an essay written by Master Pham Quy Thich recording the reconstruction of the pagoda after a long period being in ruin.

The highlight in the pagoda is its garden with many ancient towers dating back to the 18th century. The most monumental one is the lotus-shaped stupa built in 1998. The stupa is 15m high and composed of 11 floors. Each floor has a vaulted window holding a statue of Amitabha made from gemstone.

On the top of the stupa stands a nine-storey lotus (Cửu đỉnh liên hoa) and is made from stone. Planted in the middle of the pagoda’s grounds is a Bodhi tree grafted from the Great Bodhi Tree, where Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment more than 25 centuries ago.

This Bodhi tree was a present from the President of India when he visited Hanoi in 1959. Through the ravage of time, Tran Quoc is one of the most sacred pagoda for Vietnamese Buddhists.

It is also the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, listed by the State as a National Historical and Cultural Heritage right from the first round in 1962. Travel website Wanderlust recently named Tran Quoc Pagoda as one of the 10 most beautiful ancient temples and pagodas in the world./.

VNA