Thien Mu Pagoda is one of the most well-known Hue attractions among tourists, particularly the local ones. The location, architecture and history of this pagoda make an impressive destination in Hue.
Architecture of the pagoda
Situated at the end of Kim Long (road, on the northern bank of Huong River), this pagoda is associated with a lot of legends. Also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, this pagoda is a spiritual place that has gone through many eventful stages, both damages and renovations. Nowadays, the pagoda still exists and remains the unmistaken symbol of Hue ancient city.
When approaching this pagoda, what seizes your attention initially is the seven-floor octagonal Phuoc Duyen tower, formerly known as Tu Nhan Tower. Established in middle age of 19th century under the reign of King Thieu Tri, this tower was the place for the King to commemorate the 80th his grandmother’s birthday anniversary. When passing the 3-door gate, you will see 12 huge wooden sculptures of fearsome temple guardians. Then, you will see Dai Hung Palace in the middle of the area. This is the major sanctuary of Thien Mu Pagoda.
There are many impressive sculptures along with a huge bell which is 2.5 meters in height and about 2 tons in weight. The fragrant incense of smoke fills up the air throughout the day, thereby making the praying for blessings peaceful and calm. An establishment near the complex’s rear hosts a national relic: the monk Thich Quang Duc burned himself to death along with a car right at the intersection of Le Van Duyet and Phan Dinh Phung Streets in Saigon on June 11th 1963 in order to oppose to the anti-religion policy of Saigon’s regime at that time.
When visiting this prestigious site, among other Hue attractions, you could enjoy both the scenery here and the traditional architecture of pagodas in Hue. With the high position upward the charming curve of Huong River, this pagoda gives visitors a spectacular and mind-boggling view of the surround areas and the flow. There are bonsai, pine trees and delicate manmade pond covering this pagoda, bringing this site a peaceful feeling which is difficult to find anywhere.
It just takes minutes to get Thien Mu Pagoda from the center areas of Hue city, so you could get there by bike, motorbike, taxi or boat. The boat trip could include visiting Hon Chen temple along with Ming Mang tomb. It is recommended to use bike to get Thien Mu Pagoda because the road is very scenic and short. Tourists could also combine a trip to Thien Mu Pagoda with Huyen Khong Pagoda and Hue temple of Literature, which are only several kilometers away. If you want to enjoy a perfect ride, then choose early morning or late afternoon as your departure time in order to avoid the heat.
This spot is opened every day from early morning till 5pm. It is advised to come here early in the morning in order to witness the fresh beginning of everyday activities happening in the pagoda, or at sunset when the river and the sky combines to create a romantic picturesque scene. So, you can visit Thien Mu pagoda first, then move to visit other Hue attractions later.
On such special occasions like 15th of April and July basing on the Lunar Calendar, or at the special Tet holiday of Vietnam, this pagoda is much more crowded and celebrates many unique ceremonies that tourists might be very interested in. These are the time when tourists, both domestic and international, could enjoy the most delicious and traditional vegetarian food in this city without cost.
One tip for tourists when visiting Thien Mu Pagoda and many other religious Hue attractions is that they should avoid wearing short or tight clothes such as short skirts because entrance to the main hall is not allowed for those people who wear such costumes. Besides, do not make noise upon visiting the pagoda.
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