Cao Linh Pagoda: an Impressive Construction in Hai Phong

Cao Linh Pagoda: an Impressive Construction in Hai Phong

Travel Guide to Visit Appealing Cao Linh Pagoda in Hai Phong

Rachel Tran Rachel Tran | Published Apr 15, 2021

Having a chance to Hai Phong, you should visit Cao Linh Pagoda to discover its appealing architecture.

Hai Phong City is the combination of bustling life with traditional cultural traits. In this city, tourists can easily catch the sight of new Western-style buildings or ancient architecture of pagodas and temples. In the suburb of Hai Phong City, there is a pagoda which links modern and ancient features, the West and the East as well as material and spiritual values. The pagoda is named Cao Linh, which attracts thousands of tourists each year thanks to its unique architecture.

Location: Bac Ha Village, Bac Son Commune, An Duong District, Hai Phong City
Opening hours: 07.00 AM – 10.00 PM
Entrance fee: no charge
Dress code: polite clothes

I. History of Cao Linh Pagoda

In fact, there is no historical document writing down the exact time when Cao Linh Pagoda was built. According to the studies of some historians, Cao Linh Pagoda might be established 300 years ago under the Le Dynasty by the Le Van and Ha Lien families in the local area. The last restoration carved in the ancient stone steles of Cao Linh Pagoda also occurred at this time.

history of Cao Linh pagoda in Hai Phong

At first, Cao Linh Pagoda was a small one with only three compartments of worshipping house, a two-room harem, an ancestor house and a kitchen. Cao Linh Pagoda did not attract many visitors at that time because of its small size and the current religion policy. During the anti-French resistance war, Cao Linh Pagoda played an important part in the victory of Hai Phong troops and militia. Also in the war, the French force destroyed almost all the constructions of Cao Linh Pagoda.

It was not until 2001 that Cao Linh Pagoda was rebuilt with the expense from the donation of the whole community. The main direction of Cao Linh Pagoda was changed from the West to the South that we can see nowadays. The size of the pagoda was also widened, many extra constructions were added, which makes Cao Linh one of the largest pagoda in Hai Phong City.

II. Highlights of Cao Linh Pagoda

Cao linh pagoda from outside

1. Location

Cao Linh Pagoda is located to the west of Hai Phong City, which is about 12 kilometers from the city center. Due to the suburban location, Cao Linh Pagoda is one of the largest pagodas in Hai Phong with the area up to 49,000 square meters. With the favorable position near the intersection of Highway 5A and Highway 10, which is the gateway of Hai Phong, Cao Linh Pagoda can capture the attention of any visitors coming to this harbour city.

2. Structure and architecture

Cao Linh Pagoda owns a magnificent architecture, which is the mixture of ancient Eastern features and modern Western architecture. At first sight, Cao Linh Pagoda seems to be more like a palace than a place of worshipping Buddha. The golden color of decorating patterns, gray and white colors of walls and statues can be realized from a very far distance.

Unlike other pagodas in Vietnam, the gate of Cao Linh Pagoda is a five-door arched gate. The vault gate is a popular image that can be seen in Western architecture, especially in cathedrals. The five doors of the gate reflect five good elements of Buddhism. Above the main entrance is the name of Cao Linh Pagoda written in Vietnamese and the reliefs carving Buddhism Gods. Also at the entrance gate, there are six stone mascots protecting the pagoda.

Stepping over the entrance, tourists will see a large partition with the statue of Bodhisattva, which aims to remind visitors to open their merciful soul when coming to Cao Linh Pagoda. At the rear of the partition is a text written in Chinese characters. The text is about 6 core values of this pagoda, of which the first one claims that Cao Linh Pagoda is built with the donation of all visitors instead of belonging to any single individual.

A wide path paved with bricks leads the way from the gate to the main Buddism hall of Cao Linh Pagoda. On the two sides of the path are cycad and fir-tree pots, which adorns the sacred atmosphere of the pagoda. Also along the path are two rows of Amitabha Buddha statues, each row has 7 statues that symbolize 7 elements of enlightenment in Buddhism. In the yard of Cao Linh Pagoda, there is a huge bronze bell which weighs up to 3.2 tons made with the donation money of visitors.

The most important construction of Cao Linh Pagoda is the Buddism hall, which follows the traditional architecture of Vietnam. The block is in T-shaped with three compartments of front hall and one compartment of harem. The tiled roof of the main hall is a triple-roofed one, which is decorated with dragons and stylized lotus. Overall, this main hall of Cao Linh Pagoda is not too different from the typical architecture of most pagodas and temples in Vietnam.

Besides, the systems of statues and towers is a significant point of Cao Linh Pagoda. A large number of Buddha statues and towers on the ground of Cao Linh Pagoda will impress any visitors entering the pagoda. The tower architecture is even applied in the corridors where tourists stop and contemplate the striking views of Cao Linh Pagoda.

III. What to See and Do in Cao Linh Pagoda?

1. Worshipping

When coming to any pagodas or temples in Vietnam, worshipping is a must-do activity. According to many locals and visitors, Cao Linh is a holy place of worship in Hai Phong. People often come to Cao Linh Pagoda to pray for health, happiness and success for themselves as well as their family members. Provided that you are sincere enough, your wishes may come true.

The worshipping area of Cao Linh Temple is the Buddhism hall in the center of the whole construction. Entering the hall, tourists will immediately feel the tranquil atmosphere and the incense smell spreading over the interior of the hall. The inner part of the Buddhism hall is decorated with horizontal lacquered boards and parallel sentences in golden and red color. Though the ground outside is affected by modern architecture, the interior of Cao Linh Pagoda is still familiar traits with meticulous decorating patterns and Chinese characters on wood panels.

2. The statue system

The statues of Buddhism Gods can be seen in any corners and along the wall enclosing Cao Linh Pagoda The statues are made of white stone so that it can be outstanding in the green color of ornamental trees. A large number of statues in Cao Linh Pagoda is for tourists to bow their respect to Buddhism without entering the worshipping house. In addition, the image of Buddha also encourages visitors to open their hearts and practise charity.

One of the most impressive scenes that tourists can admire in Cao Linh Pagoda is the rear garden. Behind the Buddhism hall is a small garden located between two Hue-style corridors. In the center of the garden is a lotus-shaped lamp support in which the Buddha is sitting and preaching. Around him are major disciples attentively listening, which is such an solemn look.

Towers of Cao Linh Pagoda
Source: @thuha201

3. Towers of Cao Linh Pagoda

It can be said that Cao Linh Pagoda is the pagoda of towers. The towers are arranged symmetrically along the main path and in the tower area. Some small towers are for decoration while the larger ones are the graves of enlightened monks who used to manage Cao Linh Pagoda. From afar, tourists can realize the pagoda by looking at its highest towers.

The tower system of Cao Linh Pagoda is on the two sides of the Buddhism hall. Depending on the devotion of the monks, the height of the towers can be higher or lower. The lowest tower has three floors and the highest one has five floors. In front of each tower group is a statue of Buddha in a lying position, around are smaller statues of novices. The thing making these towers different from other towers is the arched shape of the lowest floor. This kind of construction cannot be seen in any other temples except for Cao Linh Pagoda.

IV. How to Get to Cao Linh Pagoda

Cao Linh Pagoda is about 12 kilometers from Hai Phong city center and 100 kilometers from Hanoi. To get to Cao Linh Pagoda, you can go by coach, private car, taxi or by bus.

To get to Hai Phong from Hanoi, you travel by train or coach to get to the center of Hai Phong City. Depending on your schedule, you can choose to follow Highway 5A or Expressway 5B. If you follow Highway 5A, the way may be shorter but the time is longer. Expressway 5B will take you to the center of Hai Phong then you have to take a bus, taxi or motorbike to Cao Linh Pagoda.

From Hai Phong city center, you follow Nguyen Van Linh road (Highway 5A) to Quan Toan Bridge. There you turn left to Highway 10 and you will reach Cao Linh Pagoda in 2 more minutes. If you want to go by bus, you need to take the bus No.07 but go have to get off at Quan Toan Bridge and walk one more kilometer to reach the pagoda.

It takes you about 2 to 3 hours to travel from Hanoi to Hai Phong and 30 minutes to reach Cao Linh Pagoda from the center of Hai Phong City.

V. Extra Tips

  • You should dress politely when visiting Cao Linh Pagoda. Shorts, skirts and sleeveless trousers are not encouraged.
  • Be courteous in your manner of speaking. Do not use your foul language on the ground of Cao Linh Pagoda. Keep silent while others are praying.
  • The most crowded times in Cao Linh Pagoda are the spring days after Tet holiday, full-moon day of lunar July and mid-autumn festival.
  • When entering Cao Linh Pagoda, you need to use the four side doors instead of the main gate.
  • You are not allowed to touch and take away worshipping items inside Cao Linh Pagoda.
  • Do not write or draw on walls, statues and pillars of Cao Linh Pagoda.
  • Keep the ground of the pagoda clean. Do not throw your garbage.

With the unique architecture which is the combination of traditional and modern values, Cao Linh Pagoda is worth visiting for all tourists going on a tour in Hai Phong City. For more than two decades, Cao Linh Pagoda has played a part as a religious center of Hai Phong as well as the neighborhood area. Cao Linh Pagoda is the worshipping place where you can feel the pervasive breath of religion in the human world.


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