Tran Quoc pagoda – the oldest pagoda in Hanoi in particular and in Vietnam in generally is located in the tiny islet of West Lake, Tay Ho district, Hanoi. Tran Quoc literally means “protecting the country”. The pagoda was built in the year of 554 with the former name “Khai Quoc” – Found the country. In Ly and Tran dynasties, the pagoda was the buddhism center for Dai Viet country.
According to Vietnam history, the pagoda was built under Ly Nam De’s reign (544-548) associated with Van Xuan State. Later, King Le Thai Tong (1434 – 1442) changed it’s name to An Quoc (Secure the Nation).
Tran Quoc Pagoda still kept a fairly complete system of status. There are Buddhist statues, three sages and ancestor monks in the pagoda. Specifically, the pagoda has a statue of Buddha entering Nirvana that folk often calls Reclining Buddha which was rarely seen in northern pagodas but mainly seen in Laos or Thailand.
Tran Quoc Pagoda also kept many poems and parallel sentences of kings and mandarins under Nguyen Dynasty praising the scenery. Over thousands of years, due to the destruction of nature, Vietnam government restored some details of pagoda such as the main hall, a house of worship, the steeple, the corridor, etc. With all the historical and architectural values it possesses, The Pagoda is an indispensable destination for cultural explorers to Vietnam and very worth visiting as a sacred sanctuary of Buddhism attracting countless Buddhist believers.
Today, around West Lake have a lot of shops which are crowded all the day; however, Tran Quoc Pagoda retains a private space of tranquility which is the trace of Buddhist culture from the time of Hanoi the ancient city, attracting many Buddhists to worship and domestic and foreign tourists to visit.
To visit Tran Quoc pagoda, it is a must to wear long clothes (make sure not too short). The pagoda open from Monday to Sunday (not in lunchtime). It is a great combination to connect your visit to Tran Quoc pagoda with cooking class tour in Hanoi. And for the next day your could pay a visit to Halong Bay.