One Pillar Pagoda
One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi © Nguyen The Hai
One Pillar Pagoda was constructed to celebrate the tale of the heirless Emperor Ly Thai Tong, who dreamt about receiving a son from the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion, seated on a lotus flower. He married shortly after and bore a son, and the pagoda was built to honour the event. It is the most interesting of the city's numerous pagodas, and beneath the ornate curved roof people come to pray for fertility and well-being, with allegedly miraculous effects. The unique wooden structure was designed to resemble a lotus flower, the Buddhist representation of enlightenment, emerging out of the water, with the single stone pillar its symbolic stalk.
Address: Ong Ich Kiem Street, Ba Dinh District
Opening times: Daily from 8am to 5pm
Admission: Free, but a donation is expected