One Pillar Pagoda: a typical cultural architecture

One Pillar Pagoda is one of the iconic thousands of years old architectural works in Hanoi, Vietnam. Located in the complex of historic Ba Dinh relics, One Pillar Pagoda has a unique architecture and is a cultural destination.

one pillar pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda | @nmacuong

One Pillar Pagoda

  • Address: Doi Can, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Opening hours: 7:00 am – 6:00pm, every day
  • Entrance fee: 25,000VND/guest

1. Construction history of One Pillar Pagoda

As a famous tourist destination in Hanoi, One Pillar Pagoda has a long history and rich culture that any visitor must admire. One Pillar Pagoda was started construction in 1049 under King Ly Thai Tong.

Legend has it that King Ly Thai Tong once dreamed of the Bodhisattva. She was meditating on a lotus with the halo in the lake and inviting the king to come along. After recounting that story, the monk Thien Tue advised the king to build a temple to worship the Bodhisattva at the place in his dream.

The One Pillar Pagoda was originally built with a stone pillar supporting the small jade building above. In this building worships the statue of the Bodhisattva. The whole construction is in a square lake with lotus. King Ly Thai Tong named it Dien Huu Tu (Dien Huu Pagoda) with the meaning of lasting blessings. He often visited the pagoda to pray and recite Buddhist chants.

Through historical dynasties and resistance wars, the One Pillar Pagoda has been changed and used to be damaged strongly.

In 1955, after winning and taking over the capital, the Ministry of Culture of Vietnam restored the One Pillar Pagoda following the old architecture. Since then, this pagoda has been preserved well until today.

2. One Pillar Pagoda with the most typical architecture in Asia

One Pillar Pagoda has only a small wooden temple situated on a large stone pillar in the middle of Linh Chieu Lake. The structure of this construction consists of 3 main parts: stone pillar, Lien Hoa temple, and the roof.

The pillar of the temple is 1.2-meter-diameter stones that overlap in a solid block. The total length (excluding the submerged part of the stone pillar) is 4 meters. Above the column is a system of wooden beams with a symmetrical and solid structure to support the Lien Hoa Temple (also called the Lotus temple).

The Lien Hoa Temple made of wood has a square shape with a length of 3 meters on each side. Inside the temple worships a statue of the Boddhisattva with thousand eyes and a thousand hands, and the gilded statue is solemn and luxurious. Besides, there is a pair of large ceramic vases, lotus pots, and many worshipping tools on the golden altar, Lien Hoa Temple carries colors of Buddhist spirit and worshipping beliefs of Vietnamese people.

The roof of One Pillar Pagoda has red tiles with four corners bent. On the top of the roof is the two dragons facing each other, which is the symbol of the proliferation, being harmonious between yin and yang in the Eastern culture.

The pagoda rising from the lake means a lotus rising straight out of the water to get pure and elegant energy. So, the people also call this pagoda Lien Hoa Dai (meaning the lotus temple).

With typical architecture and long history as well as vital spiritual significance, One Pillar Pagoda is recognized as the National Architectural and Historical Relic in 1962. And, the record of the Temple with the most typical architecture in Asia is managed by the Asian Record Organization.

>>> See more the beautiful buildings in Hanoi.

3. One Pillar Pagoda is the symbol of a thousand years of culture in Hanoi

Having the significance in history, culture, and unique architecture, One Pillar Pagoda has existed for nearly 1000 years. And, it has become one of the typical symbols of Hanoi. This temple is one of the tourist promotion images of the capital and is an impressive attraction.

And, One Pillar Pagoda is chosen to print on the coin of 5,000 dongs.

4. The best time to visit One Pillar Pagoda

You can visit One Pillar Pagoda at any time of the year. However, to fully witness the nature and spiritual beauty, we recommend visiting the pagoda in the summer (May to September), and on the 1st or 15th of the lunar month.

Although during the summer, it is hot in Hanoi, you can see the lotus in the lake under the pagoda booming (usually the main time for blooming in June and July). The lotus combines with the scenery and old pagoda, creating beautiful views with rich Buddhist colors.

Also, on the 1st or the full moon day of each lunar month, the One Pillar Pagoda will hold the worshiping ceremony. Visiting on those days, you will see the beauty of Vietnamese culture and spiritual beliefs in worshipping in Eastern culture in general.

5. The major attractions to visit in the area of One Pillar Pagoda

When traveling to One Pillar Pagoda, you can explore the below buildings.

Three-door gate: The three-door gate is the first place tourists set foot in the One Pillar Pagoda. The three-door gateway is the beauty of ancient architecture in temples in Vietnam. Passing through the three-door gate is a small temple serving the worship of Buddhist monks and nuns.

Lien Hoa Tempe (Lotus Temple): Lien Hoa Tempe is the central part of One Pillar Pagoda. The temple is the most unique structure to visit, including Linh Chieu Lake, Lien Hoa Temple, Stairways to the main hall, the statue of Bodhisattva.

Bodhi tree: This tree is a gift from the Indian President planted in 1958. The Budhi tree has lush green branches and leaves. The Bodhi tree is one of the symbols of Buddhism. When the Bodhi tree is in the area of the pagoda, it makes the space more sacred.

6. Frequently asked questions about One Pillar Pagoda

How is the dress code to visit One Pagoda Pillar?

One Pillar Pagoda is a religious place, so when visiting it, your dress code is elegant. Typically, when you enter the Lien Hoa Temple, your shirt needs to have sleeves, and pants covering the knees.

Can I burn the incense at the temple?

Yes, you can. You can burn incense to pray for good luck, peace in life. But, do not light too many sticks of incense. And, burn with the odd numbers of the incense sticks.

Which attractions can I visit after the One Pillar Pagoda?

You can visit many attractions nearby after visiting the One Pillar pagoda, such as:

How long can I visit the pagoda?

One Pillar Pagoda is a small site, so the time to visit it only takes from 30 minutes to 1 hour. It is because of this pagoda in the area of the system of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. So, we recommend you to visit One Pillar Pagoda while exploring other buildings of the mausoleum system.