VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

Around Ho Chi Minh City

Cu Chi Tunnels - Tay Ninh - Nui Ba Den - One Pillar Pagoda - Can Gio - Buu Long Mountain -Tri An Falls - Vung Tau - Long Hai - Loc An Beach - Ho Tram Beach - Ho Coc Beach - Binh Chau Hot Springs - Cat Tien National Park - Con Dao Islands

ONE PILLAR PAGODA

IDD Code (+84) 8
The official name of this interesting pagoda is Nam Thien Nhat Tru (Chua Mot Cot Thu Duc; (Tell: 896 0780;1/91ĐNguyen Du), but everyone calls it the One Pillar Pagoda of Thu Duc. The One Pillar Pagoda of Thu Duc is modelled after Hanoi's One Pillar Pagoda, though the two structures are not identical. Hanoi's original pagoda was built in the 11 th century, destroyed by the French and rebuilt by the Vietnamese in 1954; HCMC's version was constructed in 1958. When Vietnam was partitioned in 1954, Buddhist monks and Catholic priests wisely fled south to avoid persecution and continued to practise their religion. One monk from Hanoi who travelled south in 1954 was Thich Tri Dung. Just after his arrival in Saigon, Thich petitioned the South Vietnamese government for permission to construct a replica of Hanoi's famous One Pillar Pagoda. However, President Ngo Dinh Diem was a Catholic with little tolerance for Buddhist clergy and denied permission. Nevertheless, Thich and his supporters raised the funds and built the pagoda in defiance of the president's orders. At one point the Diem government ordered the monks to tear down the temple, but they refused even though they were threatened with imprisonment for not complying. Faced with significant opposition, the government's dispute with the monks reached a standoff. However, the president's attempts to harass and intimidate the monks in a country that was 90% Buddhist did not go down well and ultimately contributed to Diem's assassination by his own troops in 1963- During the American War the One Pillar Pagoda of Thu Duc was in possession of an extremely valuable plaque said to weigh 612kg. After liberation the government took it for 'safekeeping' and brought it to Hanoi, However, none of the monks alive in Hanoi today could say just where it is. The pagoda is in the Thu Duc district, about 15km northeast of central HCMC. Traveller cafes and travel agencies in HCMC should be able to put together a customised tour to the pagoda or to arrange a car and driver for you.