Bach Ma Temple - Thang Long Citadel’s Eastern Guardian God Temple

Duc - October 25, 2018

Bach Ma Temple (or White Horse Temple) is one of the recommended tourist destination in Hanoi Old Quarter because of its extraordinary architectural design. This temple is related to why King Ly Thai To chose Thang Long Citadel place to build for his dynasty.

Visitors to Bach Ma Temple are offered a golden opportunity to escape the hectic everyday life of central Hanoi and approach the peaceful spiritual life of Hanoian.

Bach Ma Temple welcomes thousands of visitors each year

 

Bach Ma Temple - What should I need to know?

Address: 76 Hang Buom Street, Hang Buom Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
Thanks to its favourable location, Bach Ma Temple attract a large number of tourists every year.

How to get there

Since Bach Ma Temple lies in the heart of Hanoi Old Quarter, visitors who stay in the Old Quarter can easily reach the destination on foot. Just around 10 minutes of walking.

Opening hours

From Tuesday to Sunday:

  • Morning: 07:00 to 11:00
  • Afternoon: 02:00 to 05:00

On the 1st and 15th of every lunar month: 8 am to 9 pm

Entrance Fee: Free of charge

Regulation

  • Dress properly: no shorts, mini skirt or tank-top.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Do not bring food or drinks into the temple.
  • Only take pictures or film under allowance.
  • Each visitor is only allowed to burn one incense stick.

Tours to Bach Ma Temple

Bach Ma Temple - is it the oldest temple in Hanoi?

One of four sacred guardians here?

On December 12, 1986, Bach Ma Temple was recognised as a national historical monument by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The temple, which lies to the east of the capital, is among the four sacred guardian temples of ancient Thang Long besides Quan Thanh Temple to the north, Kim Lien Temple in the south and Voi Phục Temple to the west.

Why people believe Bach Ma Temple is the oldest one in Hanoi?

Bach Ma Temple was formerly located in Ha Khau Ward, Dong Tho, Tho Xuong District, Hoai Duc, Thang Long. This temple was built in the 9th century to worship God Long Do (God of the Dragon Navel), the original god of ancient Hanoi.

In 1010, King Ly Thai To decided to move the capital from Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh) to Thang Long, yet his attempt to build the citadel failed multiple times. Legend has it that a white horse run out of the temple and showed the King the site for construction.

The temple was renovated in the 18th and 19th century.

What special about Architecture in Bach Ma Temple?

With more than a thousand years of history, White Horse Temple is one of the typical architectural relics typical of Hanoi. A wooden framework with big iron-wood columns is typical for the architecture of temple in North delta region.

Interior decoration of Bach Ma Temple

The rafters join to form a weight-bearing structure. Decorative carvings are another attractive design in Bach Ma Temple. The incense-burning house has a unique carapace-shaped roof.

Artefacts - truly shining in Bach Ma Temple

The interior of the temple involves incense sticks, Phoenix altars and shrines to Confucius.

Many valuable ancient artefacts are stone slabs, a statue of the legendary white horse and red-lacquered funeral palanquins, etc.

The temple itself is a rich source to the study of Thang Long – Hanoi.

Cultural discovery in Bach Ma Temple Festival

In commemoration of Long Do God, the People's Committee of Hoan Kiem District annually organises the festival of Bach Ma Temple on the 12th and 13th day of the second lunar month. Visitors to Hanoi Old Quarter at this time of the year simply cannot miss this special event.

The procession departs from Ma May Temple through the large streets to Bach Ma Temple in Hanoi. The lion dance team takes lead, followed by the flag team and the gong drum team.

Shepherds and a life-size buffalo model also get involved to conduct the Spring Buffalo ceremony. After the sacrifice, the model will be taken to the bank of Red River to be offered to the Spring Buffalo.

Visitors can enter the temple to pray after the sacrificial offerings to Saint.

During the festival, there are also many entertaining such as ethnic arts (ceremonial songs, Vietnamese opera, poem recitation) and martial art performances.