Thien Mu Pagoda – The Soul of Vietnamese Buddha Architectures
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Hue is not only famous for picturesque landscapes but also the ancient Buddhist structures, which is one of the most important icons of Vietnam in the past time. Thien Mu Pagoda is considered as one of the oldest pagodas because of its magic story relating to the opening day of Nguyen Dynasty – the final reign of Vietnamese feudal history.
Legend has it that one day, Emperor Nguyen Hoang has a special visit on the Perfume River. Suddenly, he saw a small hill surrounded by jade water. According to Fengshui – an Eastern philosophical conception, the hill has a dragon-shaped feature – a holy animal in many Asian nations. When he met the local people, they said that the hill is called as Ha Khe Hill. Every night, a woman appears on the peak and says that “there will be a pagoda built on the hills for the prosperity of this nation and it will be built by a lord”. After that, the woman disappears. After that, Emperor Nguyen Hoang erected a beautiful pagoda on Ha Khe Hill and everyone calls it as “Thien Mu Pagoda”. And “Thien Mu” can be translated into “The holy woman” in Vietnamese language. For a long time, the pagoda has become one of the most attractive destinations for tourists because of its harmonious beauty between sublime nature and ancient architecture.
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Built in the 16th century, Thien Mu Pagoda was renowned as one of the most beautiful pagodas in the South of Vietnam at that time. The pagoda quietly lies on Ha Khe Hill with the irresistible panorama of romantic Perfume River. Hidden under lush trees of the hill, Thien Mu Pagoda offers a taste of tranquility every time we visit. Because of its special geography, visitors have to hire a boat of local people to access the pagoda. It is also a precious opportunity for us to discover the appealing scenery of Perfume River – one of the most well-known rivers in Vietnam.
The most outstanding symbol of Thien Mu Pagoda is Phuoc Duyen Tower. Built in 1844, the tower was designed with the model of an octagon, measured about 21m in height. The tower has all seven floors, each of floor has Buddha statues inside. All parts of the tower are made of local materials such as Bat Trang pottery, blocks of stones from Thanh Hoa, and clay from the foot of Long Tho hill.
Behind Phuoc Duyen tower, tourists can enjoy the solemn space of Dai Hung temple. This is the main part of Thien Mu pagoda, which is well-preserved despite the huge changes in Vietnamese history. The surrounding of the pagoda is covered with green grass and lush trees. It brings the feeling of comfort and coolness, even in hot summertime in Vietnam.
In Thien Mu Pagoda, there are many antiquities, which is evaluated as invaluable treasures of Vietnamese culture such as bronze bells, Buddha statues, and gravestone.
From the pagoda’s garden, visitors can enjoy an extremely serene atmosphere with quiet Perfume River flowing slowly through small villages, pretty boats mooring on the riverside and the cool atmosphere of pine trees. It can be said that Thien Mu Pagoda is really an ideal destination for visitors on a wonderful travel to Vietnam.
The most suitable time to visit Thien Mu Pagoda is between January and February because it is the most comfortable time in one year in Vietnam. However, many visitors also choose the period from May to June. It is summertime in Vietnam. At that time, the weather is harsher with hot temperature and bright sunlight. Instead, it is the time for the season of flamboyant flowers – a typical flower of Vietnamese people through many generations.