The main gate has 3 entry points: the center for the monarchs, the left for the administrative Mandarins, and the right for the military Mandarins. A bronze bell can be found on top of the center pathway which can only be rung and touched by monks. In modern-day Vietnam, only the center door is left open for visitors.
The second courtyard leads to the Constellation of Literature Pavilion which is considered as the face of the temple. Photos of it are in postcards, even thumbnails and if one says “Temple of Literature”, this image instantly comes into mind.
The pavilion is intricately designed with an elaborate roof which houses another bronze bell that can be seen through the two circular windows.
A stele is a monument erected for commemorative purposes like in funerary. In the case of the Temple of Literature, 116 steles of stone turtles were erected to honor talent and encourage study but only 82 steles remain today. (See the Legend of the Turtle here)
Now we finally enter the main hall, the Dai Thanh Sanctuary. This is the most sacred place in the temple where the altar of Confucius and four of his most honored disciples are being worshiped. (Source: Wikipedia) Flash photography is not allowed in this holy ground.
|Dragon Joss Sticks Pot Before the Entrance of the Sanctuary|
Aside from being a temple of Confucius, the Temple of Literature also serves as a school. The fifth courtyard houses the Imperial Academy, the first national university of Vietnam. It was perfect timing when we got there ‘coz a graduation has just finished. School kids just packed up, bringing their academic robes with them.
Hi to our English friends, Dr. Oliver and girlfriend Anna who walked with us in finding the Temple of Literature with maps in hands! 🙂
Hanoi’s Historical Sites Series: Nhà thờ Lớn Hà Nội
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