One Pillar Pagoda

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One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda is small and charming pagoda built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong in 1049. The original was blown up in a vengeful act by the departing French in 1954, but apart from the base, Hanoians rebuilt an exact replica of the original. This being Vietnam, of course, there is a story. It seems that Emperor Ly Thai Tong had not produced an heir. He prayed to the goddess Quan Am and subsequently had a dream in which the goddess, sitting on her lotus throne, handed him a baby. Somewhat later, the happy

This being Vietnam, of course, there is a story. It seems that Emperor Ly Thai Tong had not produced an heir. He prayed to the goddess Quan Am and subsequently had a dream in which the goddess, sitting on her lotus throne, handed him a baby. Somewhat later, the happy Emperor was blessed with a fine, healthy son, born of a common village girl he had taken as a wife. In gratitude, he built the pagoda to honour the Goddess Quan Am.

This tiny wooden structure of only three square metres holds a statue of Quan Am inside. It is indeed supported by a single column (these days cement), rising from an artificial pond, the whole structure intended to represent a lotus blossom, the Buddhist symbol of purity. Opposite the One Pillar Pagoda is …