There are many magnificent things to see in Hue, Vietnam’s former capital. Like China, Vietnam too had a Forbidden City for its rulers. Built in its own Vietnamese style, it is quite impressive and certainly the highlight of a trip to Hue. Parts of it are now undergoing reconstruction and restoration.
But no trip to Hue is complete without a cruise on the Perfume River. It is so named because of the fragrances of the plants and trees that line its banks. Here two views of the Perfume River, a place of enchantment.
The treat that comes at the end of the cruise, as if the calm waters and entertaining hostesses on the boat, selling silk pajamas, silk blouses, embroidered wall hangings, and carved wooden items weren’t enough– is the Thien Mu Pagoda.
Built in 1601 and then renovated in 1844, it is part of a Buddhist Temple complex that includes a huge 2000 kilogram bell. Legend has it that people used to see an old lady sitting on the hill where the pagoda now stands. She presumably said that a great leader will someday build a pagoda on this spot that would bring peace to the country. She then disappeared into a cloud. The pagoda’s name translates as “Heavenly Lady Pagoda.” The complex now houses young men who are learning to become Buddhist monks. The setting is calm and beautiful.
The pagoda actually is not straight, but leans back. So far, no one is talking about reinforcing it and the angle is barely noticeable.
A walk on the grounds is a reminder of the peace and calm that the monastic life has to offer. Join me on my next trip!