Thien Mu (Linh Mu) Pagoda in Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda (Linh Mu Pagoda) in Hue is comparable to the One-Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi in terms of historical value and influence on Vietnamese Buddhist life. Moreover, Thien Mu Pagoda also captivates visitors with its poetic and lyrical beauty when it is located on the romantic Perfume River of Hue.

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Thien Mu pagoda is located atop Ha Khe hill, on the north bank of the Perfume River, near Huong Long hamlet, 5 kilometers from Hue city center, and is easily accessible from there.

The Thien Mu Pagoda is the subject of several legends (also known as the Linh Mu Pagoda). Locals used to see an old lady dressed in red appear on top of the hill every night. She predicted that the Lord would pass by one day and construct something significant. Thien Mu Son became the name of the hill after that (Mountain of Lady from Heaven). When Lord Nguyen Hoang passed by the hill, he overheard the account and decided to construct a pagoda, which he named Thien Mu. After many events, damages, and reconstructions, the pagoda still stands today as the unofficial icon of Hue's ancient citadel.

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The seven-story octagonal tower known as Phuoc Duyen Tower attracts travelers' attention as they approach the pagoda (formerly Tu Nhan Tower). The tower was built in the mid-nineteenth century by King Thieu Tri to mark his grandmother's 80th birthday.

After passing through the three-door gate, there are 12 massive wooden carvings of scary temple guardians before arriving at Dai Hung Palace, Thien Mu Pagoda's main sanctuary. Buddha is venerated here with beautiful statues and a big bell that stands 2.5 meters tall and weighs 2 tons and was built in the early 1800s. All day long, fragrant incense smoke fills the air, making the praying for blessings calm and serene.

A national treasure is housed in a structure in the complex's back: the car that transported the monk Thich Quang Duc to the crossroads of Phan Dinh Phung and Le Van Duyet streets in Saigon on June 11th, 1963, where he burned himself to death in protest of the regime's anti-religion policies.

Visitors to this prominent attraction can take in the view as well as the unique Hue pagodas' traditional architecture. The pagoda gives a mind-boggling perspective of both the river and the surrounding environs due to its lofty position above the lovely curve of the Perfume River. This sacred place, which is surrounded by pine trees, bonsai, and a charming constructed pond, exudes a tranquility that is difficult to find anywhere else.

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Thien Mu Pagoda is around 4 kilometers from Hue City Center and may be reached by motorcycle, bicycle, or boat. Hon Chen Temple and Minh Mang Tomb can be visited as part of a boat tour. The road is highly scenic and short, so a bike journey is recommended. The visit to Thien Mu Pagoda can be combined with a visit to Hue Temple of Literature and Huyen Khong Pagoda, both of which are only a few kilometers apart. One reminder for bikers: the best time to ride is early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid Hue's heat.

The pagoda is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Tourists are advised to visit the pagoda early in the morning to witness the fresh start of everyday activities, or at sunset to witness the beautiful combination of sky and river.

The pagoda is more crowded on important occasions, such as the 15th of April and July of the Lunar Calendar, or during the Tet Holiday, and contains various distinctive ceremonies that visitors may be interested in. This is also the season when tourists may sample some of the city's most traditional and delectable vegetarian fare. Tourists are welcome to participate in these meals.

Tips

When visiting the pagoda, avoid wearing tight or short clothing, such as short skirts, as these costumes are not permitted to enter the main hall, Dai Hung. Also, when visiting the pagoda, don't make any noise.

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