It is said that, the pagoda was built under the reign of King Ly Nam De (544-548) under its original name of Khai Quoc (National Founder). It was originally built on the bank of the West Lake and the Red River. In the time of King Le Kinh Tong (1600-1618), the pagoda was removed to the Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) Islet due to the river bank crumbling and was renamed Tran Quoc (National Defence).
Behind the worshipping shrine is the Buddhist trinity followed by corridors, ten shrines and the belfry. In the pagoda, there are many valuable statues, such as the red lacstatue trimmed with gold of Sakyamouni Buddha's Parinirvana and many ancient stelae with the old- one made in 1639 by Doctoral Law- Nguyen Xuan Chinh recording the pagoda's history.
In 1959, on his visit to Vietnam, Indian Prime Minister Razendia Prasat offered the Pagoda a bodhi tree as a gift. The plant was grafted from the holy Bodhi tree where Sakyamuni sat in zen (meditation) position 25 centuries ago. Now the Bodhi tree is Green and luxuriant, shading part of the pagoda's yard.
As a religious relic among spectacle scenery, Tran Quoc Pagoda is a favourite stop-over of many foreign visitors and pilgrims.
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