“Thang Long Tu Tran” is the term referring to 4 sacred temples, protecting 4 directions of the Thang Long citadel (the old name of Hanoi), respectively:
- Quan Thanh Temple (Northern Guardian) is at the end of Thanh Nien Street, Ba Dinh District.
- Bach Ma Temple (Eastern Guardian) is at 76 Hang Buom Street, Hoan Kiem District
- Voi Phuc Temple (Western Guardian) is at 306B, Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh District, next to Thu Le Park.
- Kim Lien Temple (Southern Guardian) is in Phuong Lien Ward, Dong Da District.
I - History of Quan Thanh Temple
This temple was built in 1010 to dedicate Huyen Thien Tran Vu deity in order to chase away evils, demons, succubi,... Undergoing through ups and downs of different feudal dynasties, Quan Thanh was renovated 7 times both in exteriors and interiors from 1618 to 1941, all were recorded in epitaphs, including three-entrance gate, courtyard, the pre-worshiping area, the main-worshiping hall, the harem and auxiliary houses. After renovation, this temple has remained the countenance until today.
II - Architecture of Quan Thanh Temple
Three-entrance gate or Tam Quan gate
Tam Quan gate - Source: Internet
In front of Tam Quan gate are 4 stone pillars with 4 statues at the top and 2 folding screens of embossed tiger images. Tam Quan gate includes one primary entrance in the middle and two auxiliary ones on the sides. On both sides, there are reliefs carved with images of plants and rivers. The gate roof has an ascending dragon carved delicately. Passing the gate, you see a spacious courtyard with lots of green trees, penjings,...
Front worshiping area
The front worshiping area in Temple Quan Thanh Hanoi Vietnam is located right after the penjing, with two meticulously and uniquely designed kneeling elephant statues in the front of the forecourt. The interior of the forecourt contains religious items of an altar, a high and narrow desk and a statue of Mr. Trum Trong, a master sculptor who made the Tran Vu deity statue. Images about 4 sacred animals, bats, fish, wine gourds, swords, scenes of life on earth and heaven are carved delicately in wooden parts.
The "Khanh" in Quan Thanh Temple - Source: Wikipedia
The left front worshiping area hangs a quite large black bronze bell called “Khánh”. The “Khánh” is 1.25m wide and 1.1m high, cast in 1784. The front outer of the bronze “Khánh” was carved with a pair of large copper lamps with unique patterns.
The main - worshiping hall
The main hall has 4 layers of roof, in the middle hung a horizontal lacquered board engraved “Tran Vu Quan” - the old name of Quan Thanh Temple Hanoi. The highlight of this hall is the black statue of Tran Vu deity.
This statue has great historical and artistic values. It was cast in 1677 and became the largest bronze statue in the north of Vietnam, demonstrating the bronze casting techniques and talent of Vietnamese artists at that time. The majestic statue is 3.96m in height, 4 tons in weight, placed on a 1.2m high marble rock. The left hand is placed in front of his chest to catch the sermon’s seal while the right-hand holds the sword which is shrouded by a snake propping against the back of a turtle. (Turtles, snakes and swords are symbols of Huyen Thien Tran Vu deity).
III - Information for tourists
1 - Quan Thanh Temple opening hours
- On normal days: the temple opens from 8am to 5pm
- On holidays: the temple opens 6am to 8pm
- On the Lunar New Year Eve: the temple opens all day
2 - Entrance fee
The entrance fee is 10.000 VND/adult ($0.43), 5.000 VND/children ($0.22). The ticket counter is located behind Tam Quan gate.
3 - How to get to Quan Thanh Temple?
Bus No.45, 14 and 50 to get off near the temple. Ticket price: 7.000 VND/person ($0.3) (access the website https://map.busmap.vn/hn for more information about the bus lines and bus stops).
You can park your motorbike in the wide sidewalk areas along 2 sides of Tam Quan gate. This parking area is authorized by the local government. The parking fee is 5.000 VND/motorbike ($0.22).
4 - Worshipping activities in Quan Thanh Temple Hanoi
The temple opens for people to thurify and devote offerings all year round and is more crowded on holidays, the 1st day & the full moon day of the lunar calendar.
On the third of March of the lunar calendar, the temple celebrates the festival for Hanoians to commemorate the sacred Huyen Thien Tran Vu deity, who chased away the demons and protected the North of Thang Long citadel. There are many rituals with different religious activities in Quan Thanh Temple festival such as pen descending, dream and prosperity praying. In particular, the pen descending rite is to counsel, teach, and pray for God's blessings.
After visiting the temple, you can also experience some other activities such as: visiting One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Tran Quoc Pagoda; enjoying West Lake cuisine namely steamed rolled rice pancake at No.29 Thuy Khue street, West Lake Crisp shrimp pastry at No.1 Thanh Nien street or ice-cream, Lang Son roasted duck and pork at No.40 An Duong street.
Quan Thanh Temple Hanoi is typical for its spiritual religion of Hanoians in particular and Vietnamese in general. Coming here, you can thurify and learn a part of Vietnam’s history, or even contemplate its beauty.