Crossing Travel
DESTINATIONS Hanoi Saturday, 12 September 2015

Ngoc Son Temple in Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

Although located on centre of the developing country, Ngoc Son temple maintains a sense of the poetic atmosphere of ancient Thang Long. Hoan Kiem lake and Ngoc Son temple has been becoming symbol of Vietnam

 Ngoc Son Temple
 Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son temple locates in the centre of Hanoi on a small island in the middle of Hoan Kiem lake. The lake is originally named Luc Thuy (Green Water) because its water is always green. And then in the 15th century, it was renamed Hoan Kiem Lake- returning the sword ( Sword Lake) because of a legend relating to Le Loi’s resistance war against Ming invaders.

Hoan Kiem lake
Hoan Kiem lake

 The temple supposedly dates back to the fourteenth century, although the current buildings were probably built in the eighteenth century. The temple is dedicated to the hero Tran hung Dao, who defeated a force of 300,000 sent to invade Vietnam by the Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan. There are also altars dedicated to the scholars Van Xuong and La To, the patron saint of physicians

Ngoc Son Temple 
Ngoc Son Temple 

 Passing through the gate, there is a five-storey stone tower on the left with a top shaped like a pen nib pointing toward the sky. There are three characters, Tả thanh thiên (Writing on the Blue Sky), on the side of the tower. Across from the Pen Tower is the Ink Slab support and an arched gate with a slab of stone carved in the shape of a peach half above it. Across from this slab is Thê Húc (Light of Dawn) Bridge with Đắc Nguyệt Lầu (Moon Viewing Tower) at the end along with the Trấn Ba (Preventing Waves from Crashing) Pavilion.

Ngoc Son temple has three main sections: the external one is the bái đường ( kowtowing place), the central section is for worshipping Van Xuong and the end section is dedicated to Tran Hung Dao

 Ngoc Son Temple
 Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son temple is also a small museum preserving many precious relics from different historical eras including the stele writing entitled  Ngọc Đế Sơn, and 1.156 valuable carved wooden blocks for printing books on literature, medicine, and linguistics. On the walls and pillars there are parallel sentences and large letters and fantastic poems by many famous Confucian scholars who came here as sightseers. Particularly, there is a specimen of a rare Sword lake turtle 2.1 meters in length, 1.2 meters wide and weighing 250 kilograms, that was found in 1967. The temple is made more sacred and beautiful by being placed on Sword Lake and relating to the legend of Lê Lợi returning the sword to the magical tortoise after gaining independence for the nation in 15th century.

Although located on the centre of the developing country, this site still maintains a sense of the poetic atmosphere of ancient Thang Long. And Hoan Kiem lake and Ngoc Son temple has been becoming symbol of Vietnam

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