|Buu Long Pagoda in District 9 on the outskirts of HCMC attracts Buddhist worshipers due to its unique architecture. Photo by Shutterstock/Hoang Tran.
Located on a small peninsula on the east side of the West Lake, Tran Quoc Pagoda, nearly 1,500 years old, was ninth in the list of the world’s 20 "most beautiful Buddhist temples" compiled by U.S. magazine National Geographic
Adding to the architectural beauty and historical significance of the pagoda is a Bodhi tree said to be the "offspring" of the original tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment in India. The tree was presented by free India’s first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, to President Ho Chi Minh during the former’s visit to Hanoi in 1959.
The pagoda also has several worshiping statues in the front yard. Hundreds of years old, these statues were engraved and polished meticulously by skillful craftsmen.
Buu Long Pagoda in District 9 on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City has been ranked 11th on the Natgeo list. The U.S. magazine praises the "carved dragons that curve down the temple stairs and a turquoise pool reflecting the temple’s white walls and golden spires."
The pagoda was built in 1942 on a hill near the Dong Nai River and it underwent a major restoration in 2007. Its architecture now carries influences from India as well as other Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Thailand and Laos.
One interesting feature of Buu Long Pagoda is that followers are not allowed to burn incense or candles, as it practices Theraveda Buddhism. Only the Buddha is worshiped in this pagoda, unlike most other Vietnamese temples where many deities, including those from other countries, are worshipped.
Bagan in Myanmar topped the Natgeo list, followed by Thailand’s Wat Benchamabophit, Japan’s Seiganto-ji and Wat Rong Khun, also in Thailand.
|Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, was built on a small peninsula on the east side of the West Lake. Photo by Shutterstock/Andy Tran.
Many other Buddhist temples in Asia were also featured in the list, including Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong, Kye Gompa and Mahabodhi temples in India, Gyeongbokgung Palace in South Korea, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Gangtey Monastery in Bhutan and Thean Hou Temple in Malaysia.
Vietnam is a predominantly Buddhist nation. It is estimated that over 70 percent of the population are either Buddhist or follow Buddhist practices.
In 2016, U.S. news site Thrillist called Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi one of 11 "stunningly gorgeous" pagodas around the world; and a year later, U.K. travel magazine Wanderlust chose it as one of the world’s "10 incredibly beautiful pagodas."