Thien Mu Pagoda is a historic temple in Hue, Vietnam, that is regarded as the unofficial symbol of the city. It is located on Ha Khe hill, on the north bank of the Perfume River, about 5 kilometers from the Citadel of Hue. The temple was built in 1601 by the first Nguyen lord, Nguyen Hoang, who followed a local legend about a celestial lady who prophesied that a lord would come and build a pagoda for the country’s prosperity. The temple has been expanded and renovated several times by subsequent Nguyen lords and emperors, and has become one of the most beautiful and oldest pagodas in Vietnam.
The most prominent feature of Thien Mu Pagoda is its seven-story Phuoc Duyen tower, which was erected in 1844 by Emperor Thieu Tri. The tower is octagonal in shape and each floor is dedicated to a different Buddha. The tower is visible from afar and has become a landmark of Hue. Behind the tower is the main hall of the temple, where a large bronze statue of Amitabha Buddha sits on a lotus pedestal. The hall also contains several precious antiques and relics, such as a giant bell cast in 1710, a stone turtle with a stele inscribed by Nguyen Phuc Chu in 1715, and the car that carried the monk Thich Quang Duc to his self-immolation in Saigon in 1963.
Thien Mu Pagoda is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and admission is free.
Visitors can reach the pagoda by boat, bike, motorbike or car. There are also tours that include Thien Mu Pagoda along with other attractions in Hue. Some tips for visiting Thien Mu Pagoda are:
- Dress modestly and respectfully, as this is a religious site.
- Remove your shoes before entering the main hall or any other buildings.
- Do not touch or disturb any objects or statues in the temple.
- Do not take photos inside the main hall or of the monks without permission.
- Be quiet and mindful of your surroundings.
Thien Mu Pagoda is a must-see destination for anyone who visits Hue. It offers a glimpse into the history, culture and spirituality of Vietnam. The pagoda also boasts a serene and scenic setting, overlooking the Perfume River and surrounded by gardens and pine trees. Thien Mu Pagoda is a place where you can admire the architecture, learn about the legends, and feel the peace of Buddhism.