Hanoi is famous for being a land of thousand years of literature with priceless relics left by our ancestors, such as the sacred Quoc Tu Giam, the majestic Thang Long Imperial Citadel and Voi Phuc Temple – one of the “four guardians of Thang Long”. This temple is full of nostalgic colors, making visitors fall in love.
Introduction to Voi Phuc Temple
Voi Phuc Temple is an ancient temple located at 362 Kim Ma Street, Ngoc Khanh Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, near Thu Le Park and opposite the Transportation University.
According to historical records, the temple was built in 1065, the 7th year of Chuong Thanh Gia Khanh, to worship Linh Lang Dai Vuong – the son of King Ly Hoang Chan – who defeated the invading Song army and then died. And the temple’s name Voi Phuc also comes from the image of two stone elephants lying prostrate in front of the temple, symbolizing the image of elephants that once knelt in front of Prince Linh Lang to bring people and soldiers to the battle.
In particular, this temple is also in the “Four Sides of Guardian” system that guarded the west of the ancient Thang Long citadel along with Bach Ma temple in the east, Quan Thanh town temple in the north, Kim Lien town temple in the south. Therefore, it is also known with another beautiful name, Tay Tran Thang Long (The Guardian of The West Thang Long)
Due to being built a long time ago, experiencing the ravages of time, harsh weaOnce destroyed by the French colonialists in 1947, the temple has been restored. It no longer looks like the original, but its majesty, ancient and sacred, still lingers with time.
Therefore, Voi Phuc Temple was ranked as a cultural relic by the Ministry of Culture and Information in 1962 and became a place of pilgrimage and a famous tourist destination in Hanoi that those who love nostalgia cannot ignore.
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Ancient architecture and contemplative space
Voi Phuc Temple is located on a spacious land facing the Southeast. Right from afar, we were impressed with the sizeable brick-paved road leading to the temple located by the blue lake and covered with many old trees. It is hundreds of years old, with long roots dropping from above to form a unique curtain that highlights the scenery of the temple.
The road to the temple courtyard has three entrances. The central entrance has 12 wide stoned steps that are only used for the procession of palanquins during the holidays. The two entries on either side are for daily walking. In the middle of the courtyard, right in front of the main entrance, a semicircular wall was built with two stone dragons carved with the meaning of “gathering water, gathering happiness” or “praying for water to be full.”
The architecture of the worshiping works in the Voi Phuc temple is quite monumental. The temple’s roof is designed in the traditional style of ancient pagodas with the tail curved up to the sky like the head of a knife. The upper part is carved wide, with phoenix, unicorn, tiger, and dragon pearl winding soft and delicate.
The main hall has these five compartments, on the left is a drum, on the right is a bronze bell, in the middle is a plaque, a throne carved with a dragon, meticulous flowers of the 19th century. The statue of Linh Lang is in the deepest and highest position with a noble and upright facial expression. This is the main place of worship of the temple, so it is always like a place of fragrant incense.
At the back, there are five compartments built entirely of sturdy, shiny ironwood. In front of the porch, there are two stoned mascots to protect the peace of the building, and inside, the mother of Linh Lang and three Holy Mothers are worshiped. Every place exudes spirituality and serenity.
In addition, Voi Phuc Temple in Hanoi also has statues of generals and soldiers, horizontal paintings, couplets in Chinese characters praising the merits and sacredness of the gods. The throne is painted with splendid gilded vermilion. There is also a giant bronze bell 93m high, 70cm in diameter, divided into four zones, each with an embossed kanji line. Although it has been imbued with the ancient breath, it is still full of values that bring an indelible impression to visitors.
Must-try experiences at Voi Phuc Temple
Voi Phuc Temple is ideal for taking pictures in an ancient style with a space full of nostalgia. And most of all, any corner here can be shown as beautiful as a movie, so you don’t have to pose too much, but in return, you have to choose your outfit carefully so that it is both suitable for the spiritual place and has a beautiful atmosphere.
Accordingly, whether male or female, the traditional Ao Dai is also considered the best outfit. If you like the difference, you can wear the innovative Ao Dai. If you want to show the beauty of ancient Vietnamese women, the Nhat Binh costume is ideal. Revealing, this is also an antique trend that many young people are using today.
In addition, Voi Phuc Temple also attracts visitors with a lively and joyful festival atmosphere on the 9th, 10th, and 11th days of the 2nd lunar month every year. This is also the biggest festival in the temple. The significant activity was the procession of palanquins carrying fan flags, gongs, dragons, and canopies connected in a long line with the Bat Am ward, the extremely bustling team on the road.
Moreover, on holidays, New Year, the full moon day, or the 1st of every month, you can also come here to offer incense to pray for peace, health, and fortune, because according to the belief of the people, Linh Lang is in the temple extremely sacred, has protected the serenity of this place for thousands of years.
Next to the temple yard, there is a long and curved stone bridge spanning to Thu Le Park, so if you have a small child with you, you can take your child to visit the fascinating animal world and play many games in the park.
Voi Phuc Temple is a sacred place in Ha Thanh and a bright spot in the spirit of preserving national cultural identity, the permanence of folk beliefs that all of us today and in the future must always be held and protected.