Quan Thanh Temple in Hanoi
- Location: Thanh Nien Street | Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.
- Recommended reason: ancient Taoist temple in Hanoi
- Ticket fee: 10,000VND
- Opening time: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Quan Thanh Temple (Vietnamese: Đền Quán Thánh), also called Tran Vu Temple, is an ancient Taoist temple located near south shore of West Lake in Hanoi Vietnam. Quan Thanh Temple is the largest Taoist temple in Vietnam and regarded as one of 4 sacred temples of ancient Thang Long citadel, offering the Taoist Deity of the North Tran Vu.
History of Quan Thanh Temple
Quan Thanh Temple was built during the reign of Emperor Lý Thái Tổ (1010–1028) and has a history of more than 1000 years, which can be traced back to 11th century. Throughout its long history, Quan Thanh temple has been renovated a couple of times, most recently in 1893 when the main entrance and the shrine were restored. In 1962, it became one of the first batch of "National Cultural Relics Protection Units" in Vietnam.
Legend of Quan Thanh Temple
Tran Vu was originally a Xuanwu emperor, the highest deity guarding the north in Chinese Taoist mythology. Tracing back to the source, the original shape of the Emperor Tran Vu is the turtle or the turtle snake zoarium. The Chinese Taoist Classics contain stories of the Xuanwu emperor with his hair and discalced feet battling the discalced demons.
Legend has it that the Tran Vu to use the sword and Taoist spells to subdue the evil spirits in a King’s palace, so the Taoist temple was named after Tran Vu. This Tran Vu temple was originally in the vicinity of the Lichi River in Vietnam (1160) but was later transferred to the capital of the northwest (Hanoi) (1474). The dragon around it represents the four directions of the Emperor Xuanwu, protecting the nearby residents. Tran Vu temple also attracted many foreign religious people to visit.
Layout of Quan Thanh Temple
Quan Thanh Temple has Chinese characteristics, but at the same time, it also reflects the Vietnamese style in some decorations, especially the carving process, which is exquisite. The gate of Quan Thanh Temple is a two-story pavilion building with a bell tower on the upper floor and a big bell cast in the 17th century. There are one large and two small doors in the lower level, called "three customs", which symbolizes the empty door, the no-door and the non-door "three uncoupling doors." Three Chinese couplets are on the back of three doors. Entering the door, it is a courtyard.A colorful flag fluttering on the flagpole in the middle of the courtyard. There is a stone tablet pavilion with a wordless monument and a symmetrical white elephant sculpture.
The entire temple hall is magnificent, and there are lots of exquisite reliefs and decorations on the walls. The main hall of Quan Thanh Temple is about 60 square meters in size. It is called the worship hall outside and called the inner palace inside. There is only one door between the two parts. The entire building is magnificent and there are many beautiful reliefs and decorations on the walls.
The bronze statue of the Taoist Emperor Tran Vu was placed in the middle section of the inner palace. The statue is 3.7 meters high and weighs 4 tons. It is said that the bronze statue was cast in 1677 during the reign of Ly Dynasty. The statue appears as a sitting Taoist hermit, the left hand passes magic and the right hand holds a sword shrouded by a snake propping against the back of a tortoise. (snake symbolizing strength, turtles symbolizing longevity). Considered a masterpiece of Vietnamese bronze casting and sculpture, it is the second biggest bronze statue in Vietnam.
How to get to Quan Thanh Temple?
Quan Thanh Temple is located at the crossroads of Thanh Nien Street and Quan Thanh Street, near West Lake, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. If staying in the West lake area of Hanoi or even if seeking out the best temples and pagodas to view then don't miss this location off your itinerary. It is just a short walk from the west lake or the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to reach the temple.
You can rent bike or motorbike to the temple from Old Quarter, it takes roughly fifteen minutes to reach. Motorcycles can be rented for around USD5-6 a day, and can be arranged by most hotels.