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An experience we will never forget
March 24, 2012

Thien Mu Pagoda

The seven-tiered Thien Mu Pagoda is an iconic pagoda in Vietnam. It is set in luxuriant gardens on Ha Khe Hill, around 4km from Hue’s centre. Legend has it that around the time of Trinh-Nguyen civil war (16th -17th century), local people usually saw an old woman appearing on the hill. She announced that one day a lord would come to the site and construct a Buddhist pagoda that would bring peace and prosperity to the country. Nguyen Hoang Lord, who controlled South Vietnam at that time, was inspired by the story and he gave his order to build the pagoda in 1601 and named it Thien Mu or Celestial Lady Pagoda.

The pagoda’s greatest hallmark is Phuoc Duyen Tower, a striking 21-metre octagonal tower overlooking Perfume River. It has seven stories, each housing a Buddha statue except the top one with three bronze copper statues. Standing on the right of the tower is a pavilion, featuring a big stele perched on a huge marble turtle. On the left is another pavilion housing a massive bell of 2.5-metre height and 3-ton weight.



Thien Mu Pagoda is renowned for not only gorgeous architecture but also historical significance. It was an important site of protest against the Ngo Dinh Diem government in 1960s. In a back room of the pagoda, you will find the car that took Monk Thich Quang Duc to downtown Saigon where he burnt himself in public. His self-immolation immediately boosted the antigovernment demonstrations and marked a significant event of the Vietnam War.

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