Thứ Năm, 12 tháng 6, 2014

One Pillar Pagoda

This complex includes a pagoda and a tower built in the middle of a square lake. It was officially called Dien Huu Pagoda - Lien Hoa (Lotus) Turret. Later, it was given the popular name of Mot Cot (One-pillar) Pagoda. It is square in shape; each side is 3m long will a curved roof and supported by a cylindrical stone pillar.

The pillar, 1.2m in diameter and 4.0m high (excluding the underground section), supports a system of wooden beams which serve as a strong framework for the turret. The whole thing resembles a blossoming lotus stretching up out of a square pond which has a surrounding brick-wall. The wall has an opening through which a path runs to a nice ladder leading up to the turret.

Over the entrance of the turret, there is a wooden board carved with Chinese characters “Lotus Platform”. It is written in one historical document that: “King Ly Thai Tong (1028-1054), in his dream, saw Avalokitesvara (Kwan-yin) sitting on a lotus-shaped tower to which the King was led. Later, the King told the mandarins about his dream and sought their advice.

one pillar pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda
Some of them advised the King to build a pagoda with a lotus-shaped base on a stone pillar in the middle of a pond just as the King had dreamt. After that, Buddhist monks were asked to perform rites to pray for the King’s longevity. The One Pillar Pagoda was consequently called Dien Huu (Prolonged Happiness).

That event took place in 1049. Thus, originally, the pagoda and the lotus turret were built at the same time. The former’s size is not known but the latter is described in an ancient stone stele as follows: “Linh Chieu Lake was dug, in the middle of which was erected a big stone lotus-flower with thousands of petals on which was placed a blue pavilion. A statue of Kwan-vin was situated in that pavilion.

There was a corridor surrounding the lake. Bich Tri pond was dug behind the lake. An arched bridge ran from the front of the lake through the turret to the lake’s back. The front yard of the bridge was flanked by two towers decorated with emeralds.

One Pillar Pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda
So, the original Lotus Pagoda in the Ly Dynasty was far bigger than the present pagoda. It had more incorporated architectural structures.

The present One-pillar Pagoda has undergone numerous changes and repairs. On 11th September 1954, before their withdrawal, the French army mined and destroyed the Lotus Turret. When Vietnamese soldiers took over Ha Noi, the Government rebuilt the pagoda in accordance with the reconstruction was completed in April 1955.

Close to the pagoda is a Bodhi tree which was presented to President Ho Chi Minh by Indian President A. Prassad on the occasion of the former’s visit to India.

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