Situated on the northern bank of the Perfume River, this seven-storey pagoda is one of the cultural icons of Hue. Its name arose from a legendary tale from an old lady who foretold a pagoda was to be built as a prayer for the country’s prosperity. Her name was Thien Mu or the Celestial Lady. This place was constructed by the Nguyen Dynasty as a place for Buddhism.
Orders for construction came in 1601. It has been refurbished and expanded a few times since the original site was confirmed. A Zen Master from Buddhist China honoured the Pagoda with Bodhisattva Vows and Patronised Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu. This turned the pagoda into a fortified area of Buddhist Worship. The expansion has enlisted sculptures for shrines to heavenly realms and the ten kings, plus construction of various halls, bell towers and living quarters for the Sangha.
The Thien Mu Pagoda pays homage to Buddhism in various forms. Copies of the Tripitaka Canon and Mahayana Sutras are kept here. The temple contains a large statue of a turtle, a symbol of longevity. You can read poems which show the history of the pagoda and its history. Some of the Pagoda was rebuilt after a cyclone in 1904. It still holds splendour and finesse. Yet, it hasn’t lived through the serene period of the old Nguyen Dynasty. The old Austin Motor Vehicle of Trich Quang Duc shows further evidence of the turmoil surrounding Buddhism within Vietnam across the 20th century.
Thien Mu Pagoda is located at Huong Hoa, Thanh Pho Hue, Thua Thien Hue. Opening hours are every day from 08:00-18:00.