The One Pillar Pagoda (or also called Chua Mot Cot, which means long lasting happiness and good luck) has become the symbol of Vietnamese culture and history. This unique Buddhist pagoda is located in Ha Noi, the Vietnam’s second largest city. It is regarded alongside the Perfume Pagoda, as one of Vietnam’s two most iconic temples.
It was built by Emperor Ly Thai Tong of the Ly dynasty (1028 – 1054). Legend tells that Ly Thai Tong was childless and he used to go to pagodas to pray for a son. One day he was dreaming that he met Bodhisattva Avalokteshvara who handed him a baby son while seated on a beautiful lotus flower in a pond. Not long after that, his wife bore him a son. Overjoyed by this, the emperor ordered the construction of One Pillar Pagoda in 1049.
The pagoda has a special design that is meant to evoke a great lotus flower (the Buddhist symbol of Enlightment) rising out of the water. Bodhisattva Avaloktesvara, the goddess of mercy who was seen by the emperor Ly Thai Tong in his dream sat on this flower. On the birthday of the Buddha or the Vesak, the emperor would come to the One Pillar Pagoda and bathe a representation of the Buddha in the presence of his monks.
In 1105, the pagoda was renovated by emperor Ly Nhan Tong. The French troops destroyed the original one at their withdrawal from Vietnam. The present temple or pagoda that you see now is a replica built in 1960. The One Pillar pagoda or Chua Mot Cot is made of strong wood, three square meters in area and stands on a stone pillar rising above a pond with diameter of 1.25 meter. A stair rises from the lip of the pond into the temple, where a steady stream of tourists and pilgrims queue up to pay their respects.
Women are supposed to enjoy better fertility after their visit to the pagoda. People still can enjoy the sight of the pagoda without joining the queue (seeing it is free of charge), a snack stand sells refreshments nearby, making the pagoda an ideal rest stop for tourists or visitors in transit between the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Presidential Palace. The One pillar Pagoda is open from 8am – 5pm every day.
In the town’s surrounding, there are several major tourist attractions that can be found like Ho Chi Minh Museum, Pagoda Bich Dong, Temple Ngoc Son, Pagoda Tran Quoc, Co Loa Citadel, Cot Co Ha Noi and King’s Iceland Golf Department.