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Temple of Imperial Concubine Y Lan

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 . Last updated Fri, 13 Mar 2015 16:31

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The temple of imperial concubine Y Lan in Hanoi is considered the oldest and scared temple of Vietnam worshipping the talented and virtuous woman of Vietnamese nation. This is also a tourist attraction appealing numerous tourists to Hanoi each year.

The temple of imperial concubine Y Lan located in Duong Xa commune, Gia Lam district, Hanoi, is one of the temples worshipping the imperial concubine Y Lan. She is one of the prominent women in the history of Vietnam who was 2 times regency and has many contributions to the country. Built in the late 11th century in the royal architectural style of Ly reign, this temple not only is the largest temple worshipping the imperial concubine Y Lan but also is ranked the oldest temple in Vietnam.

The history has it that King Ly Thai Tong was unable to have his own son up to the age of 40, therefore, he paid visit to Dau pagoda in Bac Ninh to pray for a child. Knew the news, the villagers held the festival to welcome the King. The escort of the King attracted the attention of people. When he passed the Tho Loi village, he lifted the curtain to admire the landscape. From a distance, he saw a girl of commoner origin leaning on an orchid tree and paid no curiosity to the escort of the King like others. The King went to ask the reason. The girl was pretty, fluent repartee, smart and gentle. He love and decided to choose this girl as his imperial concubine. He took the image of the first meet as the title of imperial concubine. So the contemporaries and posterity call her as Imperial Concubine Y Lan.

Unlike other wives of the King, Y Lan did not get the sumptuous beauty or the capture of the King made significant feelings, she paid special attention to the work of the court. She spent much time to follow the state affairs, read books. So just a short time, Y Lan had profound knowledge in many aspects. Courtiers respected her as a talented person. 

In 1069, King Ly Thanh Tong personally led a military against the kingdom of Champa and left the regentship for Y Lan. In the same year, Dai Viet was unfortunately flood, wiped out crops; hungry people rebelled in many places. This was a big challenge for the female regent, but thanks to the strategic ability, Y Lan assumed the responsibility for the work of the country. She proposed the right, assertive and daring measures, so the disturbances were soon quelled, starving people were rescued. To respect her grace and express the devotion with a talented woman, Dai Viet people honored her as "Guanyin Bodhisattva".

After an unsuccessful period of attack, King Ly Thanh Tong worries about the work of the country and want to abandon the campaign. When hearing under the regency of Y Lan, the country overcome difficulties, kept the prosperous peace. The King felt shy, he continued to carry on his campaign and determined to defeat the enemy.  

In 1072, King Ly Thanh Tong died suddenly; Empress Mother Y Lan one more time took the position of regent. With her strategic ability and the support of high-ranking mandarin Ly Thuong Kiet, Dai Viet prospered and rapidly flourished. In the renaissance of Ly Thanh Tong, Imperial Concubine Y Lan played an important role. In both 2 times keeping the highest position, Y Lan proposed the measures to build the country and make the country more powerful.

In 1077, when Tong Dynasty invaded our country, with the complete control over the court, Y Lan mobilized the whole nation into the battle, giving for the country strong enough to defeat the enemy. Empress Mother Y Lan not only enforced national building measures, reassuring the people making the country more powerful, but she also cared for the expansion of intellectual, exam and studying. She issued many progressive policies as slave redemption, reduction tax and prohibiting people from killing buffaloes. At the peak position, Y Lan did not forget the plight of the poor woman, who was living the life worse than her childhood.

According to the history book, in 1103, Y Lan granted money in the internal storage of government to redeem the poor girls who had to sell themselves and married them for the widowers. Understanding and interesting the Buddhism, the Empress Mother Y Lan built hundreds of pagodas. Thanks to the story between her and monks in the Ly dynasty, currently, we know the origin of the Buddhism in Vietnam. To thank her high grace, contemporary people honored her as "Guanyin Bodhisattva". Being an intellectual and virtue woman and getting the support of Ly Thuong Kiet, Y Lan had positive contribution to the Ly inheritance. She is one of the great persons having the excellent talent of Vietnam, an outstanding woman of the Vietnam history. She died on July 25, 1117, at the age of 74. She was cremated and given the posthumous name Empress Mother Phu Thanh Linh Nhan, buried in Tho Lang, Thien Duc, the native land of the Ly dynasty.

Imperial concubine Y Lan is a famous woman of Vietnam in general and her hometown in particular. I myself was a local people, the hometown of imperial concubine Y Lan, I am very proud and encourage children how to preserve the identity and heritage values ​​of the relic, and bring attention to build, renovate and make the relic more spacious and worthy her merits.

The temple has the royal architecture of the Ly reign; especially the temple has 72 doors. In the right of the temple is Linh Nhan Tu Phuc Tu built by Empress Mother Y Lan along with hundreds of pagodas. This temple was inaugurated in March, 1115. The temple and pagoda currently store many precious ancient treasures as two stone lions, 4 stone steles in the late Le dynasty, 5 horizontal lacquered paintings, 2 parallel sentenced praising the virtues of Y Lan…

As the place worshiping imperial concubine Y Lan, the relic population includes temple, pagoda, shrine located within the campus having the yard, the house, the green trees with the width of 3 hectares. Located on the left side, in front of the temple are the stone dragons with sophisticated carved lines. After nearly nine centuries, in the temple and pagoda of Ba Tam still keep many rare and worth treasures in terms of unique architecture and sculpture of Vietnam. For example, three Tam The statues sitting on the head of 2 lions that has the height of 4m and was carved elaborately. Two antiques of the Mac dynasty were caved flowers, dragon and phoenix and a stone step was carved dragon of the Ly dynasty with 1.3 meters long and 0.8 meters high. Among the artifacts left, the two carved stone lions are the most precious objects. They were carved from a hug stone block with 1.2 meters high and 1.36 meters wide lying prostrate. In terms of sculpture, their lines are soft and have impressive details such as bushy eyebrows, straight teeth, big fangs, thick legs, and sharp curved nails. Especially, their eyes are very large, protruding out, bringing the visitors the feel of the extraordinary power and hidden beauty that are both smooth, majestic and powerful of the lord of creatures. Unlike the lion image in other temples, the dragon in Y Lan temple was completely different. By the great sculpture, using multiple vignettes, the animal seem to be still alive, breathing and playing with the pearl, especially on the forehead of two lions were inscribed the word “the King” to confirm the lord position and protect our country. Two stone lions are not only the rare and precious ancient artifact in Vietnam but also a great sculpture, great artistic value of the whole Southeast Asia.

 Right in front of the temple is parallel sentences that indicate the 3rd Ly dynasty selected a beautiful, virtuous and talented woman. On the country, there are over 100 temples, but here is her hometown handed and sacred. In the harem, there is the statues of imperial concubine Y Lan and 6 females keeping 6 ministries in the court and helping Y Lan. The outside hall, there are the altar and some. On the altar is the ancestral tablet recording the 3rd Empress Mother of the Ly dynasty. Through restorations, the largest restoration was in 1612, but now the temple still keeps its beauty with the architecture of Ly culture. It brings both the profound historical significance and high art value. This is really a unique and rare work of Vietnam.

Imperial concubine Y Lan is the talented woman of the nation. She is accredited with giving birth King Ly Nhan Tong, a talented king reigning 56 years, the longest-reigning monarch in the History of Vietnam. She along with Ly Thuong Kiet, Ly Dao Thanh defeated Tong troops. In addition, she and venerable, monks and nuns, Buddhist built hundreds of pagodas and the valuable historical relics. Every year, visitors come here to visit the monument as worship imperial concubine Y Lan, the heritage manage board hold the guides to introduce her virtue and merit.

From February 19 to 21 in the lunar calendar every year, local people hold the traditional festivals to commemorate this talented woman. In addition to the ceremony, there are lots of folk games such as chess people, cockfighting, wrestle…In 2010, along with the 1000 year anniversary of  Thang Long Hanoi, the temple was restored and renovated; especially the statue of the Empress Mother Y Lan was built right in the center front of the temple. The statue is made of copper with a height of 9.1 meter and weight of 25 tons. Behind the statue is the stone bas nearly 32 meters long described her career. It is really a unique work of art and worthy her talent, virtue and merits. Temple is not only a valuable historical relic but also a tourist attraction of Vietnam for domestic and international tourists.


Source: VTC1 -

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