Tam Chuc pagoda in Ha Nam province, belonging to the awe-inspiring Tam Chuc complex, now the biggest pagoda in Vietnam (in terms of area), is an extremely attractive spiritual tourist site in the country that has appealed to a flock of visitors recently. The pagoda was built under the Dinh dynasty about 1,000 years ago and was reconstructed on the foundation of the old one. The very first phase of inauguration of the pagoda was in May, 2019 and it is estimated that this extraordinary spiritual construction will be completed in 2048.
I - Where is Tam Chuc pagoda Vietnam?
Tam Chuc pagoda Vietnam is located in Ba Sao commune, Kim Bang district, Ha Nam province, around 30km away from Hanoi city center. The pagoda belongs to the Tam Chuc tourist complex, together with Bai Dinh pagoda in Ninh Binh province and Perfume pagoda in Hanoi to form a “Golden Spiritual Triangle” in the North of Vietnam. These pagodas are so famous and worth-visiting if traveling to Vietnam in February & March when the festival season starts in the country.
The new pagoda of Tam Chuc was constructed on the old Tam Chuc pagoda’s foundation, which is the wonderful combination of impressive architectural works with breathtaking natural scenery. The current pagoda is located in an incredible position, surrounded by majestic mountains and the Tam Chuc lake featuring 6 mountains of Luc Son Thuy. After such a long period of time, many ancient relics disappeared, but some old wooden pillars with 1-meter diameter, huge stone pillars and beams were buried under the foundation of the old pagoda.
II - The architecture of Tam Chuc pagoda Vietnam
The pagoda is dedicated to Budhidharma, Nguyen Minh Khong monk, Khuong Viet monk, Thich Thanh Tu monk, and Do Phap Thuan monk, etc., who have contributed to the development of Buddhism in Vietnam. It covers a total area of 5,100ha with a number of impressive, huge architectural works such as Vietnam’s largest three-entrance gate, the country’s biggest bible stone pillar area, and a 200-ton bronze Buddist statue - the largest one in Southeast Asia together with many other constructions. Let’s take a look at some of the most typical and prominent constructions as well as sightseeing spots in the complex of Tam Chuc pagoda Ha Nam.
1 - Dinh Thuy guest house
This is the very first place you visit in the complex, which is around 5km away from the main pagoda. The guest house, also called International Convention Center, was built on the water surface with a height of 31m, the area of more than 2,000m2. The magnificent three-floor guest house with the traditional, ancient curved roofs perched on the water surface in the middle of the Luc Nhac lake, making it like a stunning lotus.
The first floor of Tam Chuc pagoda is a convention center with a capacity of nearly 3,000 people at the same time, the second and third floors serve as the dining space for senior leaders and high-class guests. Particularly, the third floor features Thuy Dinh restaurant, where many residents over the world were warmly welcomed on the day of Vesak 2019. In addition, the guest house is the resting place for visitors before and after worshiping as well as pilgrimaging.
2 - Tam The palace - the most impressive work at Tam Chuc pagoda
The palace has a coverage of 5,400m2, a height of 39m and capacity of up to 5,000 pilgrims at the same time. The palace features the set of bronze statues of the Three-World Buddhas sitting on three golden lotuses, representing the past, present, and future. In front of the palace is a 30-ton bronze Pho Minh cauldron, 4m high, on its surface is carved with different famous scenic spots along Vietnam.
3 - Jade pagoda
Located on the peak of the That Tinh (Seven Stars) mountain, jade pagoda is the final place to visit in the complex. It is also the most prominent construction in the campus of Tam Chuc pagoda considered as an incredible masterpiece of stone architecture as the entire structure is made of red granite, weighing over 2,000 tons without any cement in its joints. The 13m high pagoda consists of three storeys with meticulously curved roofs.
Inside the impressive pagoda is a 4,000-kilogram-heavy statue of the Amitabha Buddha made of ruby imported from Myanmar. To reach the pagoda, visitors have to walk on nearly 300 steps, which may be relatively tiring but it is actually worth admiring the panoramic view of imposing nature harmoniously combined with impressive structures in the complex.
4 - Phap Chu palace at Tam Chuc pagoda
The palace is dedicated to Gautama Buddha with the most prominent feature of Southeast Asia’s largest bronze statue of Gautama Buddha, weighing 200 ton. The floor’s area of the main hall is 3,000m2 with three -floor curved roofs. The main entrance of the hall features large reliefs with the images of adorning dragons on both sides. In front of the palace is a large incensory, on both sides are a couple of adorning big flamingoes.
On the wall of Phap Chu palace is a wealth of embossments, recreating the entire life stages of Gautama Buddha.
5 - Tam Chuc pagoda’s Quan Am palace
Quan Am palace is 30.5m high with a floor area of 3,000m2, outstanding with curved roof, typical of that in Vietnamese religious architecture. The palace is dedicated to a 150-ton solid bronze statue of Guan Yin Bodhisattva together with embossments of the Guan Yin Bodhisattva saving people from danger and misfortune.
From the Quan Am palace, visitors have an aerial view of 1,000 sutras stone pillars, each 4m high, 200 tons heavy, engraved with Buddhist sutras, making it the biggest of its kind in Vietnam.
6 - Tam Chuc pagoda communal house
Located in the middle of a large lake, the communal house of Tam Chu is an ancient one typical of the architecture of the religious and spiritual constructions in the North of Vietnam. The communal house is dedicated to the queen of the Dinh dynasty named Duong Thi Nguyet. There are many ancient artifacts and relics dating back around 1,000 years ago from the Dinh and Le dynasty inside the communal house. Visitors walk through a small winding bridge from the bank to get to the house. From here, you can admire the entire Tam Chuc lake, especially splendid in the sunlights.
III - Tips when visiting Tam Chuc pagoda Ha Nam
1 - Opening hours
The tourist complex opens from 6am. There are two routes (equivalent to two means of transport) for visitors to choose: boat and electric car.
- Electric car: visitors have an opportunity to discover the winding paths surrounding the campus of the pagoda, then pay a visit to the inner area of the pagoda.
- Boat: visitors gain the wonderful experience on the charming Luc Nhac lake, enjoying several services such as discovering local cuisine and afternoon tea. After that, pass the Tam Chuc communal house before visiting the inner area of the pagoda.
2 - Tam Chuc pagoda entrance fee
- Entrance fee: free
- Fee for other services:
+ Boat: 200,000 VND/ person ($8.6) within 40-50 minutes on the Luc Nhac lake
(the boat wharf is located behind the International Convention Center - Vesak)
+ Electric car: 60,000 VND/ person ($2.6)
- Free of charge for kids under 1m tall
- Pay 110,000 VND/ ticket ($4.75) more if you want to upgrade the electric car ticket to a boat ticket.
3 - Tam Chuc pagoda festival
The spring festival in the pagoda of Tam Chuc is the biggest and most prominent one that is normally held on lunar February 12th every year. This is an important cultural and religious event with the aim of introducing and promoting the cultural values and traditions of the country. The festival normally consists of two parts: ceremony and festival.
The ceremony comprises various rituals such as Water procession from the Tam Chuc lake to Jade pagoda on the That Tinh mountain of Tam Chuc pagoda, incense offering, etc. in order to pray for favorable weather conditions, bountiful harvest and peaceful life. The festival includes a myriad of enjoyable activities such as folk games and traditional musical performances.
4 - Other information
- Clothes: wear politely, put on comfortable shoes for easy movements.
- Tourists should visit the pagoda during weekdays to avoid being crowded.
- Do not touch any artifacts, statues and other relics in the pagoda.
Tam Chuc pagoda Ha Nam is absolutely worth a visit as you are able to not only gain an exciting experience when admiring the spectacular spiritual constructions with unique architecture and the Northern region’s most stunning landscape. For more beneficial information about traveling in Vietnam, let’s follow Vietnamtrips to discover the utmost beauty of the S-shaped country.