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November 15, 2012
Vietnam travel guide

Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi city, Vietnam

Built in the 19th century, Ngoc Son Temple is a historical and religious construction located in an island of Hoan Kiem Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes of Hanoi capital. For the first time, the temple was named as Ngoc Son Pagoda. However, because this temple was built to worship the Saint Van Suong, well-known as one of the brightest stars in Vietnam literary and intellectual circles, it was renamed to Ngoc Son Temple afterward.

This temple is also place where people worship the national hero Tran Hung Dao because of his great victory that leading the Vietnamese people to victory over the Nguyen aggressors. Ngoc Son Temple has undergone many renovations, of those the most important renovation made by Nguyen Van Sieu in 1864.

Nguyen Van Sieu was essentially a famous writer in Hanoi, he was the one that build the tower that has the shape of pen at the entrance of the temple. Therefore, this temple has a name of Thap But. On the top of this tower, there are three Chinese characters called Ta Thanh Thien, which has the literal meaning as “to write on the blue sky is to imply the height of a genuine and righteous person’s determination and will“; Dai Nghien, meaning “ink stand”, is carved from stone resembling a peach placed on the back of the three frogs on top of the gate to the temple; and The Huc, meaning “where rays of morning sunshine touch”. Visitors can easily find several Vietnamese parallel sentences called Cau Doi appeared on the walls leading to the temple. These cau doi were part of traditional word puzzles played by educated individuals.

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