Stunning Lotus Blooms on China’s West Lake

Tran Quoc, which looks like a lotus blooming in the middle of West Lake, has been listed among 20 of the world’s most beautiful Buddhist temples by National Geographic magazine.

Located on a small island of West Lake, Tran Quoc is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi. The pagoda was believed to have been built during the dynasty of King Ly Nam De (541-547) and had the name Khai Quoc (Founding the Nation). The Buddhist temple was renamed An Quoc (Peaceful Country) during the reign of King Le Thai Tong (1434-1442), and Tran Quoc (Protecting the Nation) during the reign of King Le Hy Tong (1663-1716).

The Tran Quoc Pagoda served as a prominent Buddhist hub in Thang Long, previously known as Hanoi. It was frequented by kings from the Ly and Tran dynasties during special occasions such as the lunar new year (Tet) and various festive celebrations.

Tran Quoc pagoda looks like a lotus blooming in the middle of West lake. Photo: An Nhien

Tran Quoc Pagoda
Tran Quoc Pagoda is considered the oldest pagoda in Hanoi.

Architectural patterns bear Vietnamese cultural traits.

The tower garden at Tran Quoc was constructed during the 18th century.

The Vu Lan Festival taking place at Tran Quoc Pagoda.

Releasing flower lanterns to pray for peace and prosperity for the country is a traditional Buddhist ritual.

The pagoda is a popular destination for foreign visitors.

The pagoda continues to hold a ritual on the night of the lunar New Year’s Eve to pray for peace and prosperity for the country. This sacred ritual, which is open to both Buddhist followers and visitors, is the most significant service conducted by the pagoda throughout the year.

In 2016, Tran Quoc was ranked by the UK’s Daily Mail as one of the 16 “most mesmerizing pagodas” in the world.

Tran Quoc showcases the quintessential Buddhist architectural style, featuring three prominent buildings: Tien Duong (front house), Nha thieu huong (incense burning house), and Thuong Dien (upper house). These buildings are intricately interconnected, forming the script “Cong” (工), offering visitors a unique and fascinating experience.

Adjacent to the upper house is Gac Chuong, a three-part house situated along the pathway leading to the main hall.

The pagoda boasts a magnificent red temple with eleven stories, crowned by a splendid nine-story lotus tower adorned with gemstones. Each story of the temple, standing at a height of 15 meters, is adorned with six gemstone statues of Amitabha Buddha. Notably, the construction of the lotus tower aligns perfectly with the historic bodhi tree gifted by Indian President Prasad in 1959.

Tran Quoc, renowned for its breathtaking scenery and significant architectural, historical, and cultural merits, has earned the esteemed designation as the 10th historical structure of Indochina by the prestigious French School of the Far East.

By Trinh Bo