Visiting Thien Mu Pagoda & Understand Buddhism in Vietnam

Thien Mu Pagoda, or Heavenly Lady Pagoda, should be in your must-see list when visiting Hue Vietnam. It is the most beautiful pagoda - among 140 others - in Hue, the center of Buddhism in my country.

Built in 1601, the pagoda is located atop of the Ha Khe hill, overlooking to the poetic Perfume River, and about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Hue city. It’s quite easy to get there. You can take a city tour, get a taxi or a motorbike. I prefer to rent a scooter to go there and I did last time, just 10 minutes from downtown.

One attraction to tourists is that the entrance is free. You don’t need ticket to visit the landmark like other historical sites in Hue.

Thien Mu Pagoda

Thien Mu Pagoda's front gate
Photo courtesy of dulich360.com.vn

The pagoda is famous for its bronze bells. In fact there’re two of them, one was molded in 1710 and the other in 1815. Now only the later is stroked twice a day at 03:30 am, and 19:30pm. Each time has 108 strikes, totally lasting in 1 hour.

For hundreds of years, the bell’s sound takes the role to keep the pace of time for Hue. Hearing the bell in the early morning, peasants know it’s time to wake up to go to the rice field. You know in the early day, Vietnamese didn’t have watches. The sounds therefore become distinctive part of the Vietnamese former capital.

Walking into the pagoda, I’m really impressed by many things. I felt the sense of peaceful serenity, breathed fresh air, smelled aromas, and listened to the birds singing in the garden.

Behind the gate is Phuoc Duyen octagonal tower. It has seven stories (21 meters), right in the front yard. If I’m correct, it’s the highest pagoda tower in Vietnam.

The second impression is clean, peaceful, and appealing scene of pagoda with gorgeous bonsai garden. I saw green grass carpet with many pots of old miniaturized trees such as pines, ficus benjamina, etc.

Another attraction to me is the feeling of relief when observing the monks and nuns praying and chanting inside the Buddhist monastery. Novice monks are also living and practicing there in their housing and worship place.

All the scenic view makes the specialty of Thien Mu Pagoda, which I believe a must-see in your travelling list at Hue city.

You may want to watch a clip about the pagoda on Youtube

And just in case, here are several things you should keep in mind when visiting the pagoda:

  • Don’t point with finger to altar or sculpture statues. That action is deemed irrespective in the worship place.
  • Dress comfortably but respectfully. Don’t wear skimpy or sexy clothes. Your costume should cover your shoulders, chest, and legs.

That’s it, enjoy your trip! And remember to come back and share your thoughts here. I’d love to hear from you.

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