Along with Truc Lam Yen Tu in Quang Ninh province, Truc Lam Tay Thien Phuc in Vinh Phuc province, Truc Lam Monastery Dalat is one of the three largest Zen monasteries in Vietnam. Situated on Phung Hoang (Phoenix) Mountain, about 5 km from the city center, Truc Lam Monastery belongs to Ward 3, Dalat city among green pine forests, which is adjacent Tuyen Lam Lake. With its beautiful location, Truc Lam Monastery is not only the largest monastery in Lam Dong province but also one of the most fascinating tourist attractions in Dalat attracting both domestic and foreign tourists.
On an area of 25 hectares, 2 hectares for building the monastery and 23 hectares of gardens surrounding, the monastery began its construction in 1993 and finished in 1994. As one of the most impressive pagodas in Dalat, the design of Truc Lam Monastery is implemented by architect Vu Xuan Hung and Tran Duc Loc with the designing participatory of famous architect Ngo Viet Thu (who designed Independence Palace - Reunification Palace as today, Ho Chi Minh City). The monastery is divided into four areas: the public area, vihara area for monks, monk domestic quarter and nun domestic quarter. The pagoda was founded by superior Buddhist monk Thich Thanh Tu. This is also home to reside and practice Buddhism of Master Thich Thanh Tu.
Not only is it a unique architectural works adjacent Tuyen Lam Lake, Truc Lam Monastery but also is an impressive tourist Dalat attractions. Going up from Tuyen Lam Lake is a 140 stone step steep path with towering pine groves leading through 3 three-entrance gates to enter the sanctum. The sanctum area owns an area of 192 m2 with simple architecture but retaining deep significance of the Buddha. The center of the sanctum is the Buddhist statue of Shakyamuni 2m high with right hand holding lotus flower. The right of the Buddha is Bodhisattva Manjushri riding a lion. The left is the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra riding white elephant. Surounding the holy sanctum are bas-reliefs meticulously carved.
The corridor in front of the sanctum is a colonnade with four round wood imitation pillars. The ceiling is covered with glazed roof tiles. The tile roof lightly bends symbolizing the humility of Vietnam people and the elegance of meditation. The right side of the sanctum area is the steeple which was carved with delicate and beautiful reliefs deeply inspired meaning of Buddhism. Inside is the bell weighing about 1.1 tons. In particular, looking from the sanctum is Tinh Tam Lake. The scenery is extremely magnificent with blue water surface reflecting pine groves along Thanh Luong Hill. Halfway up the hill is a two-story guest house entirely situated on a small hill with neat evergreen garden. Front of the house is a green bamboo forest. Standing in front of the yard, tourists can contemplate Voi Phuc peak reflected down the mighty Tuyen Lam Lake. Truc Lam Monastery is an indispensable tourist site for tourists in the journey of discovering Dalat travel.
The monk domestic quarter is located in the sightseeing area; however, tourists are not allowed setting foot on in hours of meditation. Meanwhile, the nun domestic quarter is separated from the outside reserved for nuns, so tourists cannot visit this quarter. The reception room is relatively large and solemn. The chamber storing souvenirs is home to showcase gallery of photos the Venerable traveled in the country and worldwide with gifts as well as the artifacts of Buddhists in the country and countries in the world for him. The chamber releasing religious books includes works written by the Venerable and other Buddhist publications.
It can be said that the monastery's flower garden is one of the sites tourist cannot miss when setting foot on Truc Lam Monastery. It is also the rare flower garden housing the great number of strange and precious flowers. Varieties of flowers were planted by monks and nuns here. Unlike other Dalat pagodas, Truc Lam Pagoda also retains a nursery and transplant garden. It is a home to many kinds of flowers over the world. The most famous is species of purple myrtle, Australia kapok or confederate rose... Tourists seemly are lost in a world of flowers when arriving here. Immersing in a peaceful and gorgeous scenery, tourists seem to forget the noise and bustle of urban life in order to soak up with the nature, the earth and sky instead.
Truc Lam Monastery was awarded "the most gratifying tourist attraction" of Dalat tourism by Saigon Tiep Thi (Marketing) Magazine. It is worth to house practices for Buddhist monks and also ideal tourist site in Dalat tours. Here, tourist will have the opportunity to stabilize their mind and experience the peaceful scenery nowhere can be found.