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Tu Dam Pagoda: A guide to the famous ancient Buddhist temple in Hue

11/01/2024 10.762

Located in the heart of Hue, Tu Dam Pagoda is one of the city's most significant historical landmarks. The pagoda features intricate architecture and beautiful gardens, making it a popular attraction for both tourists and locals alike.

Tu Dam Pagoda

For centuries, Tu Dam Pagoda has stood as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment and architectural mastery in Vietnam's cultural capital, Hue. With its intricate details, serene settings, and rich history, it is no wonder why this pagoda has become a popular attraction for travelers seeking to explore the region's religious and cultural heritage.

1. Where is Tu Dam Pagoda?

  • Address: No. 1, Su Lieu Quan Street, Truong An Ward, Hue City, Thua Thien Hue Province
  • Opening hours: 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Tu Dam Pagoda is only 3 kilometers away from the city center, so it will not take you too long to get there. There are some popular means of transportation for you to choose from, such as:

  • Bus: You can take the bus route number 05 to get to the pagoda. Keep in mind that you should carefully ask the bus assistant to get off at the right point.
  • Private vehicle: From the city center, move along Hanoi Street, turn right to Le Loi Street and go straight to Dien Bien Phu Street. Turn right onto Su Lieu Quan Street, continue for about 500 meters until you reach Tu Dam Pagoda.
  • Taxi or ride-hailing service: In Hue, there are many taxi companies and some ride-hailing mobile applications that you can use. Just give the driver the location and they will get you there in 10-15 minutes.
Tu Dam Pagoda

2. The history of Tu Dam Pagoda in Hue

Tu Dam Pagoda is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in Hue, Vietnam. The foundation of the pagoda dates back to the Nguyen Dynasty in the 17th century. The pagoda has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years, making it one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city.

According to legend, the pagoda was built by the people of Thuan Hoa Village. At the time, they invited Zen master Minh Hai, who was famous for his teachings and spiritual guidance, to come and build a pagoda. Minh Hai accepted their invitation and came to the village where he built Tu Dam Pagoda on the bank of Perfume River.

Tu Dam Pagoda

The name "Tu Dam" has a deep meaning that is rooted in Vietnamese history and culture. It is derived from a Buddhist teaching, which means "relax the mind." The name reflects the pagoda's purpose of helping people find inner peace.

3. The architecture of Tu Dam Pagoda in Vietnam

Tu Dam Pagoda in Vietnam is not only renowned for its historical and religious significance but also for its stunning architecture that embodies the best of traditional Vietnamese pagoda design. The pagoda has five main sections, each with its distinctive features.

Tu Dam Pagoda

3.1. Triple-arched Gate (Tam Quan Gate)

The first section of Tu Dam Pagoda is the Tam Quan Gate, which is the entrance to the pagoda. The gate is a triple-arched gate consisting of three separate doorways, the center one being the largest. The gate symbolizes the three major realms of Buddhism: the past, the present, and the future. It is beautifully decorated with intricate carvings, with red and gold color schemes that are meant to inspire devotion and spiritual reverence.

3.2. Tien Duong Area (The Front Hall)

The second section is the Tien Duong Area, or the Front Hall, which is where worshippers can come to make offerings and pray. This area is open to visitors and features a beautifully manicured garden with plants, bonsai trees, and a pond. The front hall also has a large bell and drum, both of which are used during prayer ceremonies.

3.3. The Main Hall and Ancestor House

The third section of the pagoda is the Main Hall and Ancestor House. This section is the most important part of the pagoda, and it is where the main statue of Buddha is kept. The statue is made of bronze and is over 2 meters tall. The walls of the main hall are covered in intricate frescoes that depict scenes from Buddhist stories and legends. The Ancestor House is located next to the Main Hall and is where the ashes of late monks and nuns are preserved.

3.4. An Ton Tower

The fourth section of Tu Dam Pagoda is An Ton Tower, which is located behind the Main Hall. The tower is four stories tall and is used to store important documents and religious texts. The tower is also home to a small museum that displays artifacts and other items related to the history of the pagoda.

3.5. The Exhibition Room

The final section of the pagoda is the Exhibition Room. This room is located near the entrance to the pagoda and is used to display artworks and other cultural items related to the history of the pagoda and Buddhism in Vietnam. The room is also a fascinating place to visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of the region.

Tu Dam Pagoda

4. TOP must-visit destinations near Tu Dam Pagoda

Besides Tu Dam Pagoda, there are many other historical attractions that you should definitely visit in Hue. Each of these places has its own unique history and architecture, and they all offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the city.

  • Phu Cam Church: This is a Roman Catholic church that was built in the early 1960s. It is well-known for its unique architecture, which combines Eastern and Western features. Here, visitors can admire the beautiful stained-glass windows that depict biblical stories.
Tu Dam Pagoda
  • Tomb of King Duc Duc: Situated on a hill in Thuy Xuan Ward, the Tomb of King Duc Duc is a royal tomb famous for its impressive architecture, which features intricate designs and carvings. Coming here, visitors can explore the tomb's various chambers and learn about the life and reign of King Duc Duc.
Tu Dam Pagoda
  • Bao Quoc Temple: Dating back to the 17th century, Bao Quoc Temple is another popular Buddhist temple in Hue. This temple is home to numerous Buddha statues, including a giant bronze statue that is over 4 meters tall. The temple is also home to many beautiful gardens.
Tu Dam Pagoda
  • Nam Giao Esplanade: This is a large plaza located in the heart of the city. It used to be the venue for the Nam Giao ceremony, which was an important ritual in the Nguyen Dynasty. Today, visitors can visit the esplanade and admire its beautiful architecture, which includes a giant stone platform and numerous stone pillars.
Tu Dam Pagoda

5. Where to stay when visiting Tu Dam Pagoda in Hue?

In Hue, there are many accommodation options, ranging from budget hotels to luxury resorts. In the event that you want to visit Hoi An and Da Nang, which are two popular destinations near Hue, it is advisable that you book a room at the hotels and resorts of Vinpearl Resort & Golf Nam Hoi An.

Vinpearl Resort & Golf Nam Hoi An offers a wide range of luxurious hotel rooms and villas, which are all beautifully furnished and equipped with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Tu Dam Pagoda


Tu Dam Pagoda

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Tu Dam Pagoda


Tu Dam Pagoda

Tu Dam Pagoda is not only a spiritual center of the local people but also a significant heritage site of Vietnam. Its rich history, beautiful architecture, and peaceful atmosphere make it a perfect place to find inner peace. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a religious pilgrim, or a curious traveler, a visit to Tu Dam Pagoda will surely leave a lasting impression.

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