One of the most important historical marvels in the city of Bac Ninh in Vietnam is the But Thap Temple. Located near the Đuống River dyke in the Thuận Thành District, the temple is considered one of the most intact examples of the rich and colorful classical Buddhist art in Vietnam.
While the temple is not very far from the city center, few people know about this cultural and historical wonder. In fact, the temple, despite its significance, has for so many years remained one of Vietnam’s best-kept secrets.
But Thap Temple
The Bút Tháp Temple was built in the 13th century. To date, it is one of Vietnam’s most enduring cultural and historical gems.
The temple has around 10 different structures which are spread 100 meters from the main gate. Also, several pagodas with a different number of eaves litter the garden outside the main complex.
A local lady walks towards the main gate outside the walls of the main complex of the But Thap Temple.
A small passageway takes visitors to the main complex of the temple.
Inside the complex, several buildings house different statues and religious figures.
A small stone bridge crossing a small pond connects two buildings inside the temple complex.
A stone statue guards the end of the stone bridge inside the temple complex.
A row of pillars supports that roof outside one of the many buildings inside the complex.
This is just one of the ten one-story buildings inside the temple complex
A line of palm trees stands next to the walkway at the edge of the complex.
Bao Nghiem Tower
Here is a view of the tall palm trees and the iconic ‘pen in the sky’ pagoda outside the main temple complex.
The Bao Nghiem tower looks like a pen. In fact, it is said to be the inspiration for the name of the whole temple.
A wooden sculpture of the Buddha sits inside one of the 10 buildings inside the complex.
Wooden Rotating Tower
A wooden rotating tower serves as the central figure in the whole temple. The tower, which sits smack dab in the middle of the property, can turn without creating any sound. This artistry shows just how meticulously this structure was made.
One Thousand Eyed and One Thousand Handed Buddha
Probably the temple’s most important piece is the One Thousand Eyed and One Thousand Handed Buddha. It is the largest of its kind in the whole country.
Here is a closer look at the Buddha with a thousand hands and eyes.
Each of the one thousand hands has an eye in its palm.
The One Thousand Eyed Buddha sits next to the triad Buddha or the Buddhas from three different epochs – the past, the present, and the future.