Bac Ninh province is well known not only for Quan Ho folk song but also for cultural festivals. In addition, it is the homeland of temples and pagodas as well as folk activities. It is one of the biggest centers of Buddhism in Vietnam. And But Thap Pagoda is one of the most famous pagodas and a must-see site in this province.
But Thap is a Buddhist temple located near Duong River, Thuan Thanh District, Bac Ninh Province. This site is also known as Nhan Thap Temple.
A little history
According to a monograph of Ha Bac, But Thap Pagoda was built in the 13th century, during the time of Tran Thanh Tong by the monk Huyen Quang. He built the 9-storey stone tower with the decorated lotus (this tower is not available until today). This pagoda started to become famous in the 7th century.
According to another document, it was built in the 17th century, at the end of the Le Dynasty by a Chinese Buddhist priest. Queen Mother Trinh Thi Ngoc Truc asked Lord Trinh Trang to expand the pagoda in 1646.
Unlike other popular temples in Vietnam, But Thapa Pagoda was built according to “Noi Cong Ngoai Quoc” architectural style, including 10 buildings, from the three-entrance gate to the bell tower and the back. The central area includes eight houses that are placed on an axis. All the monuments face south, the traditional architecture of the Vietnamese.
Two towers (Ton Duc and Bao Nghiem) are made of white stone and are guarded until now. Some relics of the 17th century are kept there such as valuable donations, Bao Nghiem Tower and Xa Ly Tomb,… The carving patterns are lively with the artistic feature and themes of trees, flowers, birds, and animals.
Above all, there are more than 50 statues of different sizes such as the Buddha of Triad, Van Thu on a blue lion and Pho Hien on a white elephant. Most notable is the large statue of the Buddha with a thousand eyes and a thousand arms. These ancient statues are considered sculptural masterpieces of 17th-century Vietnam.
Bao Nghiem Tower looks like a huge pen rising to the sky. This is the place to worship the Chinese High Priest Zhui Zhui. It has five floors with part of the top in blue marble. There are five small bells in the corners of five doors. On this tower, images of animals are carved in stone.
There is a wooden tower at Tich Thien Pagodon with 9 floors, 8 sides. It is carved with Buddha statues and folk scenes from Buddhism tales.
Between the upper palace and the Tich Thien pagoda, a stone bridge crosses the lotus pond. From the view of the bridge, you can contemplate the picturesque beauties of the pagoda. The bridge has three parts with marble floors and elaborate sculptural works next to the bridge.
But Thap Pagoda is a harmonious combination between architecture and nature. The architecture, sculpture and decoration of this temple were confined to the 17th century. Architectural and sculptural works on this site reflect the expertise of Viet craftsmen. It is a good typical example of the Buddhist art of Vietnam.
Every spring, the But Thap Pagoda Festival is held to show respect to Buddhist followers and locals for Buddhism. Today, the pagoda becomes one of the popular destinations in the North Delta of Vietnam
Arriving in Bac Ninh, you can immerse yourself in the cultural life of the locals and the scenic landscapes but don’t forget to visit But Thap Pagoda. A must-see site in Bac Ninh province!