Thien Mu Pagoda (Linh Mu Pagoda) - Hue, Vietnam
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Thien Mu Pagoda was ranked one of the twenty most beautiful landscapes in Hue with the poem Thien Mu chung thanh, composed by the emperor Thieu Tri, inscribed on the stone stele set near the Pagoda gate. In 1862, during the reign of Tu Duc, who prayed for a child, the Emperor was afraid that the word Thien profaned Heaven because it means heavenly. So Tu Duc renamed the Pagoda as Linh Mu which means Holy Lady. It was not until 1869 that the Emperor allowed the reuse of the old name Thien Mu meaning Heavenly Lady. The Pagoda is still known by both names today.
Thien Mu Pagoda was originally founded in 1601 by Nguyen Hoang, governor of Thuan Hoa province. Over the centuries its buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt several times. Since the 1960s it has been a flashpoint of political demonstrations
Phuoc Duyen Tower is a famous symbolic link with Thien Mu Pagoda. It is 21 metres high, has seven storeys, is located in front of the pagoda and is visible from the Huong River. On each of the seven storeys there is a statue of Buddha. Inside the tower a spiral staircase leads to the top storey where formerly a gold Buddha statue was displayed. Huong Nguyen temple is in front of the Tower.
During the ups and downs of history, Thien Mu was once the place for sacrifices to the Deity under Tay Son’s reign in 1788 and was restored many times under the Nguyen reign. In 1844, on the occasion of the 80th birthday of Queen Thuan Thien Cao Hoang Hau (Gia Long’s wife and Thieu Tri’s grandmother), the pagoda was again renovated together with the construction of Tu Nhan Tower (later renamed Phuoc Duyen), Huong Nguyen temple and two steles inscribed with Thieu Tri Emperor's poems.
The pagoda is surrounded by flowers and ornamental plants. At the far end of the garden stretches a calm and romantic pine-tree forest. Located beside the picturesque Huong River, Thien Mu Pagoda, with its ancient architecture, adds its charm to this beautiful natural setting. The sound of Thien Mu bell is like the soul of Hue, ever resounding over the Huong River flow winding its way in front of the Citadel to the sea, resonating in the hearts and minds of the people and of visitors to Hue, the ancient capital.
The pagoda was heavily damaged in 1943. Bonze Thich Don Hau hence organised a great renovation of the pagoda, that lasted for more than 30 years.
Nowadays the pagoda is very well-maintained and very welcoming to all visitors.
Location: Hue, Vietnam
Address: Kim Long, Hue city
Opening hours: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Entrance fee: Free
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