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Pagodas of the West in Vietnam

Pagodas of the West in Vietnam
9/30/20 7:31 AM

There are three temples worth visiting which are a little way out in the Vietnamese countryside but close enough from Hanoi on a daytrip. Combining a visit to all of them makes for an interesting perhaps 4- or 5-hour scenic tour. These temples do not seem to be visited on organized tours therefore hiring a car and driver is necessary. Many hotels in Hanoi and/or travel agents will arrange this but it's not too cheap of course - not too bad though if there are three or four of you sharing the cost.
You do get an opportunity to see some of the countryside and village life including things like brick kilns, rice noodles being dried beside the road and of course all manner of old weird vehicles. On top of that when considering how busy Hanoi is - some peace and quiet too.

Looking round Tay Phuong Pagoda - Pagoda of the West in Vietnam
This busy Buddhist Temple is located 38kms west of Hanoi and there is a small entrance fee. You have to climb up 237 well-worn steps to reach the temple - all the way up there are stalls selling this and that. This small temple perched on the hillside was originally built in the 8th century and contains a collection of over 70 finely carved statues made of jack fruit wood. The statues represent the re-incarnation of Buddha, Confucius and Buddhist Saints which are all depicted in meditation poses. There are also fine carvings of flowers and of mythical animals. The large bell was cast in 1796 and the temple - with its elegant sweeping eves and double tiered roof - is beautifully decorated. On the far side of the temple steps lead way down to more temple buildings and courtyards.

Thay Pagoda - also known as Masters Pagoda or Pagoda of Heavenly Blessing - Vietnam
This Vietnamese Buddhist Pagoda is located around 32km west of central Hanoi. Fronted by a lake and with a gorgeous backdrop of limestone crags, the temple is therefore situated in a beautiful setting. Thay Pagoda was founded during the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong (1072-1127) and is dedicated to Tu Dao Hanh who was a 12th century monk and a water puppeteer. The temple contains over 100 statues including two of the largest in Vietnam - these 17th century giants are made of clay and papier Mache and weigh more than 1000kgs each. Two covered bridges in front of the pagoda were built in 1602 and are dedicated to the Sun and Moon.

Visiting Tram Gian Pagoda - which is also known as Tien Lu Pagoda in Vietnam
This large and peaceful pagoda is situated on a hillside amongst large pine trees and is located around 25kms from Hanoi. There are a lot of steps to climb to get up to the Pagoda - passing several shrines on the way. The original Pagoda was built during the reign of King Ly Cao Tong [1173-1210] who was the 7th king of the Ly Dynasty. The buildings are quite enclosed with low roofed buildings around a courtyard and inside the various buildings everything is almost pitch black.


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