Ngoc Son Temple
An architectural masterpiece in Hanoi
Located on the northern islet of Hoan Kiem Lake, bearing in itself the ancient beauty through the ups and downs of history, Ngoc Son Temple is always the pride and spiritual symbol of Vietnamese people. The temple regarded as one of the most impressive architectural masterpieces of Vietnam. Which also becomes a famous tourist attraction as well as a unique symbol of Hanoi by many domestic and international tourists.
Together with the Lake and The Huc Bridge, Ngoc Son Temple has gone into many beautiful poems and melodies for generations. Traces of thousand years of history are still imprinted on every wall, tile roof. Even on the curving The Huc Bridge across the bank to the gate, it still brings a gorgeous and magnificent beauty to this famous landmark. For that reason, Ngoc Son Temple is one of Vietnam’s special national monuments.
The history of Ngoc Son Temple
The temple, which was built in the 19th century, has a long and special history. At first, its name was Ngoc Son Pagoda then changed to Ngoc Son Temple. The temple worshipped Van Xuong De Quan – the master of Literature and Education and Tran Hung Dao. Who was the hero defeating the Nguyen army in the 13th century.
When King Ly Thai To issued the Edict on the transfer of the Capital to Thang Long. The name of the temple was Ngoc Tuong. After that the Tran Dynasty changed its name into Ngoc Son. During this period, the temple was used to worship fallen heroes who died in the resistance against Nguyen – Mong armies. Under many reigns of Vietnam’s dynasties, the temple went through many renovations, constructions and name changing. Not until 1865 that a talented scholar named Nguyen Van Sieu brought a totally new and special appearance to the temple. Over generations it remains intact until today.
Along with Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, But Thap (Pen Tower), and Dai Nghien (Ink Slab) have created a wonderfully architectural masterpiece of Hanoi. Three constructions in particular stand out as outstanding accomplishments showcasing the ingenuity and artistry of builders.
The perfect balance between architecture and nature
The architecture of Ngoc Son temple expresses clearly the harmony of religion over thousands of years of civilization, making it a typical space and architectural masterpiece.
The main campus of Ngoc Son Temple consists of three parts – Tran Ba Pavilion, the main shrine and the harem. The shrine bears the typical characteristics and features of Taoism, where Van Xuong – a prestigious scholar is worshipped, along with other gods and goddesses. The harem devoted to Tran Hung Dao, who defeated three major Mongol invasions. Tourists visiting the temple could feel the presence of Confucianism. Furthermore, they can pilgrim Buddhism’s with the appearance of Buddha statues and the Gods of Mountain and Earth.
Religious splendor over centuries
Moreover, the reconciliation of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism is evident in worship and architecture. The construction possesses parallel sentences system, horizontal diaphragm, decorative objects in Ngoc Son temple. To reach the temple, visitors need to cross a red bridge called The Huc. Which is the place where morning sunlight settle. Then they have to walk through Tam Quan ( Three Gates). Across the bridge situates a two-floor pavilion, Dac Nguyet Lau (Moon Gazing Pavilion). The right and left side of the temple is guarded by symbols of Dragon and Turtle. Which bring a touch of Eastern Philosophy and Taoism.