Tay Ho Pagoda
Phủ Tây Hồ is a small pagoda located on a peninsula that just in the middle of the West Lake (Hồ Tây) shore in Hanoi. It is said to be a popular destination among unmarried people, who come here on Sundays and on the first and 15th day of each lunar month to pray for good fortune. It should be noted here that Phủ Tây Hồ does not belong to Buddhism or Confucianism.
The most direct way to reach Phủ Tây Hồ is from Ba Dinh Square. Just head north along Hung Vuong road, it will take you to the West Lake. Going along the road shaded by rows of trees and passing Tây Hồ villa area, visitors will arrive at the Pagoda which lies on the peninsular considered a golden fish-shaped ground protruding into the lake. The area is full of the aroma of lotus flowers.
Tay Ho Pagoda is one of Hà Nội most popular destination, especially on the first and 15th of each lunar month. It is dedicated to the Mother Goodness, Thánh Mẫu. Many pilgrims come not only to pray and show their worship but also to relax and enjoy the magic and scare landscapes in the middle of Hanoi capital. While Citadel in Hue street is calm, Quan Thanh on Thanh Nien street is deep, Kim Lien pagoda is quiet, Tay Ho Pagoda is always much merrier and more animated.
As the legends goes, she appeared in the 17th century as a pretty girl in front of a fisherman on the lake, smiling and reciting poetry. Then she disappeared without revealing her identity. Later the locals found out who she really was and built Tay Ho Pagoda in Ha Noi. From the gate, visitors will see the 3-door entrance which was built in curves, roofs covered with tube-tiles, the panels on either sides cite the legendary meeting between Phung Khac Khoan and Goodness Liễu Hạnh. There is a large-scale architecture facing two storey of towers in the main hall. In the centre, it is a panel reading “Tay Ho Hien Tich” which is beautifully decorated.
There are many worship objects in the Pagoda such as: panels, altar, royal seat, fresco, etc. All were beautifully and artfully carved and decorated, bearing signs and styles of the 19th century. There are also canopies, altars and 3 bronze bells, a stone incense-burner, 3 nominations to God Kim Ngưu (Golden Buffalo) and 50 statues of different sizes.
On the way to the Pagoda, visitors can see many open-air restaurants selling delicious food items like: deep fried shrimps in flour batter and shellfish soup and vermicelli. Crisp shrimp (Bánh tôm) is available everywhere in the country but it is said best to have it at West Lake, around Tay Ho pagoda.