Boi Khe, a Buddhist temple on the outskirts of Hanoi, is renowned for its exquisite wooden carvings, notably one purportedly depicting the Chinese monk Xuanzang on his journey to India.
Boi Khe Temple's five-door gate
|Stunning wooden carvings of centuries-old Boi Khe Temple|
As one of the oldest Buddhist temples in northern Vietnam, Boi Khe is said to have been built in 1338 under the Tran Dynasty. Besides its dedications to Buddhism, the temple also honours deities of other religions and a local saint known as Nguyen Dinh An, who was credited with defeating the northern invaders. Located on a wide plot of land, Boi Khe features a five-door gate as its entrance, separated from the main yard by a bridge over a small moat said to have been once part of the Do Dong River.
The bell pavilion
Since its inception, the temple has undergone six major renovations throughout the early Le, Mac, restored Le and Nguyen Dynasties, which is why it boasts so many different architectural layers and art from across various periods.
Brick steps with cascading layers of culture
A wooden carving purported to depict the Chinese monk Xuanzang and his disciple on their journey to India, where Buddhism was founded.
The carving looks cheerful and largely intact.
Another elaborate wooden carving of dragons and unicorns
A wooden carving shows two deer playing with each other.
The rear hall is dedicated to the local hero Nguyen Dinh An, honoured as Saint Boi.
An elaborately decorated carving in the shape of a Bodhi tree leaf
A 12-handed Avalokiteshvara statue housed inside the temple
The legendary Garuda bird on the pedestal of the Avalokiteshvara statue
Arhat statues of Boi Khe Temple
Boi Khe Temple is also known for its Magnolia grandiflora trees, whose flowers are in full bloom in the third lunar month, emanating a pleasant fragrance across the temple’s wide yard.
One of the most popular hobbies for young Vietnamese people is to produce fruit carvings for the Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet.
The 300-year-old Dinh Cau Temple on Kien Giang province’s Phu Quoc island is a place for fishermen to pray for a smooth voyage.