With over 1,000 years of history, Ha Noi has been Vietnam’s centre of Buddhism for centuries. The city has more than 600 temples and pagodas, many of which are not only religious relics but also popular tourist sites. Neither boasting a long history nor having an extraordinary architecture, Quan Su pagoda is still a precious treasure of Ha Noi and has been the Headquaters of the Vietnam Buddhism Association since 1858.
The name “Quan Su” comes from an ancient word of “embassy” associated with the history of the pagoda. During the Le Dynasty in the 15th century, Chiem Thanh (Champa) and Ai Lao (Laos) usually sent ambassadors to offer tributes to Dai Viet (official name of Vietnam in the Le Dynasty). Emperor Le The Tong ordered construction of a building called “quan su” (embassy) to welcome these ambassadors. However, because they were all Buddhist, they suggested a temple for worship while staying in Dai Viet. As a result, Quan Su pagoda was built near the southern gate of Thang Long Capital and dedicated to Buddha.
At the end of the Le Dynasty, while many pagodas around the country were burned down, Quan Su pagoda was fortunately saved and since then has gone through a lot of renovations. It was not until 1822 that the temple was open to the public. Quan Su is always full of worshipers and visitors.
Article and photos many thanks to Architectureofbuddhism.com writer Sophia Doan.