Discover Co Le Pagoda – an ancient pagoda under Ly Dynasty in Nam Dinh with a unique mixture of architecture and be immersed into a tranquil atmosphere for relaxation. Show respect to brave monks and nuns who took part in armies to fight against invaders. Observe more knowledge about Buddhism – the Vietnamese’s spiritual tradition. It is obvious that Co Le Pagoda will totally impress you a lot.
History of Co Le Pagoda
Co Le Pagoda also called Than Quang Tu Pagoda was built by Zen Buddhist Nguyen Minh Khong under the reign of King Ly Tran Tong (1128-1138) with the view of praying Buddhism. Originally, it was constructed from wood and heavily damaged over the centuries. As a result, it was rebuilt in 1920, inspired by European Gothic architecture by Superior Buddhist Monk Pham Quang Tuyen.
Unique Architecture of Co Le Pagoda
After its reconstruction, Co Le Pagoda looks like a cathedral with arched domes, however, it still preserves the spirit of traditional Vietnamese architecture with its curved titled roof. Each corner of the roof is decorated with diverse stone carvings of dragons – one of 4 sacred animals of Vietnam.
In front of the pagoda is a twelve-story lotus-shaped tower, which is 32m high with its octagonal base sitting on the back of a turtle. A turtle is placed in the middle of the pond together with the decoration of four huge stoning elephants. To get a panoramic view of the whole area, you can climb a staircase spiraling to the top of the tower where Buddhist is worshipped.
The impressive thing of the pagoda is a 9,000kg bronze bell with 4.2m height – one of the biggest pagoda bells in the country. According to local people, the bronze was mixed with golden jewels which local residents donated to the pagoda. During the wartime against the French, the bell is hidden by sinking in the lake so that the French could not find it. Some rare relics like great red bell and bronze drums dating from the Ly dynasty are still on display in the pagoda.
Festivals of Co Le Pagoda
The pagoda festival is held on September 13-16 every year, attracting thousands of people to enjoy the festival and admire the great architecture work. The festival preserves a large number of traditional rituals such as wrestling, chess, cockfighting, etc.
The sacrifice of the Monks and Nuns during a Wartime
It came as a surprise that 27 monks and nuns followed President Ho Chi Minh’s appeal for national resistance to joining the army when the war against the French invaders broke out. Unluckily, twelve of those 27 ones sacrificed. The rest one came back to the pagoda or went on a military path.