It was my last day in Hanoi and I was travelling solo. My friend had left the day before. Right after my tour of the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum in the morning, I flagged down a taxi to take me to a part of Hanoi that I wanted to see badly - the West Lake area.
My first stop at West Lake was at Phu Tay Ho Temple.
That is the main entrance gate of the temple. My taxi driver did not stop in front of this temple but further off, and I had to walk quite a bit to reach here. It was OK as I did not mind walking and exploring the place.
Below is the same gate from the other side.
Located on a peninsula in the middle of West Lake, the Tay Ho Temple was rather quiet during my visit. But I heard that it would get quite crowded during 1st and 15th days of each lunar month.
The temple, also known as Tay Ho Pagoda, is not a Buddhist temple - neither is it a Confucius temple. It is actually dedicated to the Mother Goddess, Thanh Mau.
Legend has it that sometime in the 17th century, the Mother Goddess appeared as a pretty girl to a fisherman on the lake, smiling and reciting poetry. However, she disappeared without a trace after that. The locals found out her real identity and decided to build Phu Tay Ho.
The main building of the temple, which is located on the left side after entering the main gate.
The Jade Emperor is also worshipped here, although he is deemed less important than the Mother Goddess.
Not sure why, but I did not take any pictures inside the temple that day. Maybe that's a good thing because then you will visit this temple to have a look yourself rather than just reading from my blog haha!
I like the ambiance here - peaceful and quiet. Not many visitors and worshippers that day.
I like the shape of that roof with the dragon carvings!
There were some Vietnam heritage trees in the temple compound, like this one.
It's called Ficus Benjaminal otherwise known as the Weeping Fig tree.
Look at this tree! It was slanting so much it needed supporting beams.
One good thing about this temple is you get to see the view of West Lake.
Not sure what structure this is but it has two elephants at the bottom and two dragons at the top. Hanging from the middle is a bat-shaped axe.
Bats are regarded as auspicious objects as the word for bat and good fortune are homonyms in Chinese.
Walking towards the right side of the temple compound while enjoying the view of the lake.
Another heritage tree here - banyan tree.
This tree is so tall!
Can you see a golden buffalo and its calf in the photo below?
I forgot to take a close shot of the buffaloes! Apparently there's a legend surrounding these buffaloes but I was not too clear about it.
Another temple building with lovely dragon carvings at the rooftop.
Close shot of the rooftop carvings.
More photos ....
A giant bell and a carp. Not sure what they represents.
It was said that this giant bell is actually a replica of an even larger bell, which according to legend, when it was rung, the sound could be heard as far away as China!
I took only about half an hour to complete my tour of Phu Tay Ho. Clearly, the temple was not very large but it was still a nice temple to visit.
There are actually many temples around West Lake. So expect me to go temple hopping! LOL!
Which temple would I be visiting next? Stay tuned!