Located at the foot of arc-shaped limestone among the delta in Sai Son commune, Thay Pagoda, also known as Master Pagoda, is situated in two villages, namely Da Phuc and Thuy Khue, Quoc Oai District, Hanoi. It is the charming natural scenery with the landscapes looking like the Penglai world.
The pagoda is associated with the name of Monk Tu Dao Hanh, who had great success in teaching and healing the locals as well as organized and established wrestling and water puppetry. Thay Pagoda with the beauty of the natural landscapes and the historical - cultural values actually creates a tourist attraction in Hanoi. On the spectacular mountain scenery of Sai Son,
Thay Pagoda appearing in the tranquility under the dim mist will certainly offer tourists special impressions.
The ancient pagoda with arched tiled-roofs is built quite spacious with unique architectural style of Tam (Three) letter in kanji including Ha (Lower) Pagoda, Trung (Middle) Pagoda and Thuong (Upper) Pagoda parallel to each other.
As a famous pagoda in Hanoi, Thay Pagoda is located in an airy space with fresh lakes and numerous blooming flowers. The pagoda also retains a house on the water surface, which is home to water puppet performances along with two small bridges, namely "Nhat Tien Kieu" (bridge welcoming the sun) overlooking Tam Phu Temple and "Nguyet Tien Kieu" (bridge welcoming the moon) linking with the paths up to the mountain. Ha Pagoda is the place of worshiping of Buddhists and monks as well as Buddhist teachings of the monks; meanwhile, Trung Pagoda is home to worship Three Jewels.
The biggest and largest is Thuong Pagoda - where houses three statues of Zen Master Tu Dao Hanh. Discovering Thay Pagoda is one of the most unforgettable things to do in Hanoi.
In the middle of Upper Palace is a massive sanctum which was decorated extremely magnificently. Below is the statue of Zen Master in samadhi on the golden lotus throne with his lotus flower hat, arms folded across his chest and his maroon robes. On the worshiping place on the left side of the sanctum is the statue of full body of the Master. The statue was carved in wooden with the contours ingeniously and sophisticatedly sculpted. Thay Pagoda also worships the parents of Master Tu Dao Hanh with statues of Mr. Tu Vinh and Mrs. Tang Thi Loan together with 2 statues of his close friends, namely Zen Master Minh Khong and Master Giac Hai. The two sides of the pagoda are the long corridor worshiping 18 Arhats with the steeple behind. The unique architectural works contribute to promoting Thay Pagoda to become one of the fascinating Hanoi attractions.
Thay Pagoda also attracts tourists thanks to its unique festival. Traditional festival in Thay Pagoda is held from the 5th to 8th March in lunar calendar annually including numerous unique rituals such as washing the statue, picking up Zen Master Tu Dao Hanh from Thuong Pagoda to Trung Pagoda, the ceremony.
In the days of the festival, the locals and tourists have an opportunity to contemplate water puppet shows and the great number of unique and vibrant folk games. Thay Pagoda surely brings feelings of peace and delight for tourists. The Buddhists who worship Buddhist for the peace and luck together with tourists going sightseeing create the crowded and lively festive season.