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Hue Attractions, Hue Culture, Hue Pagoda - 07/10/2023 - 460 Views

Thien Mu Pagoda – The oldest 400-year-old pagoda in Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda – The oldest 400-year-old pagoda in Hue. The Thien Mu Pagoda is arguably the most well-known pagoda in Hue. It is distinguished by its antique architecture, sanctity, and mythology containing numerous secret historical tales.

Located on the serene banks of the Perfume River in Hue, Vietnam, Thien Mu Pagoda, also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, stands as a magnificent testament to the country’s rich Buddhist heritage. With its storied history and captivating architecture, Thien Mu Pagoda has become an iconic symbol of spiritual devotion and tranquility.

Dating back to the 17th century, this sacred site has witnessed centuries of cultural significance, making it a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists alike. From its striking seven-story tower to its meticulously maintained gardens, Thien Mu Pagoda offers visitors a captivating glimpse into Vietnam’s spiritual traditions and the serene beauty of its natural surroundings. Let us embark on a journey to explore the profound history and captivating allure of Thien Mu Pagoda.

1. Where is Thien Mu Pagoda Hue Vietnam?

1.1 Location

Thien Mu Pagoda is located on Ha Khue hill, which belongs to the territory of An Ninh Thuong village, Kim Long ward, Hue city, Thua Thien Hue province.

Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda

1.2 Thien Mu Pagoda opening hours

The pagoda is open all day, so you can feel free to visit. However, if you want to take stunning photos and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the pagoda, 6:00 am – 8:00 am would be the most suitable time frame. Besides, if you want to admire the romantic sunset on the banks of the peaceful Huong River, please be there from 5:00 to 6:00 pm.

1.3 Thien Mu Pagoda entrance fee

Currently, tickets to visit Thien Mu Pagoda are free for all visitors

Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda

2. How to get to Thien Mu Pagoda?

Thien Mu Pagoda is only about 5km from the center of Hue city, so you can easily travel to Thien Mu Pagoda by various means of transport, such as cyclo, taxi, or motorbike rental. 

  • Motorbike: If you want to travel by yourselves, you can rent a motorbike and follow the route: From the Imperial City of Hue, take Kim Long Street. From here, go about 2km to reach Thien Mu Pagoda. The motorbike rental costs 100.000 – 150.000 VND per day.
  • Boat: Take a dragon boat to Thien Mu Pagoda. It just takes about 30 minutes. As such, you could enjoy the cool breeze blowing on the banks of the Huong river. You can phone to book a boat: +84914731914 (Whatsapp/Zalo/Line)
  • Bicycle: Cycling to Thien Mu Pagoda is a stimulating experience. However, it will be best if you cycle early in the morning to avoid the harsh noonday sun and heavy traffic.
  • Cyclo: It would be a great experience to catch a cyclo to visit Thien Mu Pagoda because you will have opportunities to admire the peaceful scenery and be introduced to Hue. The cost varies, from 40.000 to 100.000 VND/ trip, depending on the length of each trip.
  • Taxi: The most convenient option for reaching Thien Mu Pagoda is to take a taxi.
Thien Mu Pagoda

3. The best time to visit Thien Mu Pagoda Hue

According to the travel experience of numerous visitors and Thien Mu Pagoda facts, there are two prime periods for you to visit the pagoda: From January to February and from May to June. January to February offers you beautiful weather, with low temperatures and a little light rain. On the other hand, if you visit Thien Mu Pagoda between May and June, you can admire red phoenix flowers blossoming in the sky.

Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda

4. Find out about the history of Thien Mu Pagoda Hue

The most ancient pagoda in Hue, Thien Mu Pagoda, sometimes called Linh Mu Pagoda, was constructed in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoang – the first Lord of the Kingdom of Annam (Outer Land). According to numerous documents, Lord Nguyen Hoang personally inspected the landscape before entering the Thuan Hoa Citadel to plan the development of the Nguyen family’s fortune and career. While galloping along the Huong River, he came across a small hill named Ha Khe jutting up by the blue river, resembling a dragon rotating its head. 

At the same time, residents spread the story of an older woman wearing a red shirt with a kind face. Every night she goes to Ha Khue hill and tells everyone that there will be a faithful Lord who will build a temple to guard the dragon veins. Feeling that the story resembled his idea, Nguyen Hoang immediately ordered the soldiers to build a pagoda on the hill. At this time, the pagoda was named Thien Mu Tu (The midwife of heaven in English).

In 1862, King Tu Duc changed the pagoda’s name to Linh Mu because he feared that the word “Thien”, which means heaven, would offend heaven and prevent him from having children to continue the lineage. It was not until 1869 that the 4th king of the Nguyen Dynasty allowed the name Thien Mu to be reused as before. However, today, people still call it by both names everywhen they refer to this ancient pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda has undergone many renovations so far. One of the most significant restorations took place during the tenure of Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu (1691 – 1725). At this time, Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu ordered to cast a bell weighing more than two tons, which featured an inscription etched on it. Around 1714, he renovated other structures like the Tang Kinh Cac, the Thuyet Phap house, and the Thien Vuong Palace.

More specifically, he also sent people to China to buy more than 1,000 sets of Buddhist scriptures. What he did was to praise and honor the philosophy of the Buddha. He also kept all the sutras in Tang Kinh Cac, which is considered a place to store the old official documents of the Nguyen Dynasty. Besides, There is a very detailed set of scriptures about Venerable Thach Liem – a man who earned great praise for assisting the Nguyen Dynasty in reviving Buddhism in the Inner Land.

5. Explore the architectural highlights of Thien Mu Pagoda

5.1 Tam Quan Gate

It is the main entrance of the pagoda, located behind Phuoc Duyen Tower. The gate contains three pathways for the three worlds: the human, the devil, and the god. The gate has two floors and eight roofs. A Buddhist shrine is located on the second floor of the middle gate. Especially many distinctive patterns have been etched onto the roof’s top. At the same time, the statue of the Dharma Protector stands on both sides to guard the gate.

Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda

5.2 Dai Hung Palace

Located in the main hall of Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue, Dai Hung Palace is a place to worship Maitreya Buddha, who brings carefree joy. Maitreya Buddha is depicted with a gentle appearance, big ears, and a big belly, representing an immensely kind and generous heart, capable of elevating everyone. The Palace is built entirely of solid cement. The side is painted with wood color, giving us a sense of belonging.

5.3 Phuoc Duyen Tower

Phuoc Duyen Tower is an unmissable check-in site when visitors arrive at Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue. This work is situated right after the welcome gate. More importantly, the Phuoc Duyen tower is likened to the “soul” of the pagoda. This architecture, together with other works, forms a cohesive complex, bringing unique and different features but still bold Hue.

Phuoc Duyen Tower was built in 1844 by King Thieu Tri on the occasion of the longevity ceremony of Queen Thuan Thien – the grandmother of King Thieu Tri. At first, it was named Tu Nhan Thap. Then it was changed to the current name. At that time, to complete the Tower, the clay, stones, and Bat Trang pottery materials had to be transferred from outside.

The Tower’s body was built of rustic bricks; the curb was made from stone. All combined to form an octagonal tower block. This Tower has a height of 21 meters and 7 floors. The higher it is, the smaller it is. Each floor has a Buddha statue. Inside there is a spiral staircase that leads to the top floor, where the former golden Buddha statue is located. Overall, the design of each floor is exactly the same, painted in pink. Over the years, it has carried the vestige of time, highlighting the unique value of the ancient capital’s architecture.

Thien Mu Pagoda
Thien Mu Pagoda

5.4 Dia Tang Palace

Right behind Dai Hung Palace, you will come to Dia Tang Palace and Quan The Am Palace. If Dia Tang Palace is built on the foundation of Maitreya and has delicate patterns, the Quan The Am Palace is hidden in the grove and looks very simple, without carved patterns. Inside the Dia Tang Palace is a bronze statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva sitting on a lotus base. On both sides of the Palace is the place to worship the Gods; each side has 10 Gods.

5.5 Tomb of Venerable Thich Don Hau

Most Venerable Thich Don Hau was a famous abbot in the pagoda. He devoted his whole life to the development of Buddhism in Vietnam. In addition, he was also respected by the people through countless public community services, helping people in need. As a result, when he passed away, citizens and pagoda administrators buried the Venerable under the tower at the end of the campus to express their sincere gratitude to the revered monk.

Every time traveling to Hue, visitors from all over the world indeed find the Thien Mu Pagoda to be a remarkable place. In addition to the beauty of the ancient architecture and historical details, the peace and understated demeanor are also reflected in this location. After reading this article, you will be fully aware of the extraordinary beauty and history of Thien Mu Pagoda. Therefore, if you are passionate about discovering historical and architectural information, don’t forget to stop at the famous pagoda!


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