The outlook of Ngoc Son Temple
It is interesting to stand in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake, see the incredible views from the Ngoc Son Temple. It's like a landmark for everything moving around. A tranquil, small temple is separated from the crowded streets only by a wooden red bridge, which has a famous name: The Huc.
In the 19th century, the temple was renovated and extended by Nguyen Van Sieu, an eminent scholar of the old Thang Long Capital. These include Ngoc Son Temple, The Huc Bridge, But Thap (Pen Tower) and Dai Nghien (Ink Slab).
The entrance of Ngoc Son Temple
Ngoc Son Temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao (who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century), and the scholar and saint of literature Van Xuong. On the feast day (which happens every 1st and 15th day of the lunar calendar month), a lot of people come here to worship those deities and bring luck to them.
People are praying for luckily in the Temple
In front of the bridge which is connected to the temple, there are Three-Passage Gate (Tam Quan) replete with Taoist symbolism. The first gate is easy to look for with a high stone structure beside - the Pen Tower. It has a series of parallel sentences and two large red Han characters.
On the next gate has 2 symbols: tiger and dragon. It shows the spirit of studiousness and respect of Literal examination of the ancient feudal society.
The symbol of stable and longevity
When the traveler goes through the 3rd gate, a few people can recognize a small special thing that is the ink pad. It is a green stone ink pad carved according to peach half shape, cut lengthwise, and concave surface. The scroll is surrounded by bats symbolizing happiness (the word for ‘bat’ in Chinese is Phuc which means happiness in Vietnamese).
The stone ink pad is above the gate
At the main gate of the temple, you can see 2 famous symbols: the dragon-horse and the tortoise with a book and a sword on its back. In Taoist theory, they are the initial signal of everything: Yin Yang, Five Elements and Yi Jing (or I Ching). it's like the “Holy Grail” of East.
The 2 famous symbols at the main gate of the temple
Inside the temple, the architecture and interior decorations have been kept intact. It takes 10 mins to go around the temple but discovering it with email@example.com, you can realize that the hidden things are really great.
There are some images of Ngoc Son Temple and The Huc bridge in the past (collected):
Ngoc Son Temple and Pen Tower in the 19th century
The Huc bridge in the 19th century
The gate and the main way to the temple in the 19th century
The keywords: Hoan Kiem lake, Hanoi tours, Ngoc Son Temple