The thousand-year-old temple of King Le (King Le Dai Hanh) is situated in the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh Province, around 200 kilometers away from Hanoi.
Every year the temple and the nearby Dinh King temple attract hundreds of thousands of people who come to pay their respects to King Le who fought courageously, protecting the country from the threat of invasion from the Chinese in the North.
Before occupying the throne and becoming the first King of the Le Dynasty, Le Hoan was an excellent general under King Dinh Tien Hoang. After the death of King Dinh, Le Hoan received support from the king’s wife and other military men, taking the throne and leading the fight against the army of the Song dynasty of China and began the southward expansion process against the kingdom of Champa.
The temple of Le King was first constructed in 1010 after the capital was moved to Thang Long, now Hanoi, on the area of the ancient capital.
The temple was re-constructed from 1600-1606 and has been well maintained. The temple still holds the precious pieces of ancient sculpture on rock and wood, reflecting a period of prosperity in Vietnamese history.
The temple, laid on a rectangle shaped ground; running in the direction from West to East has been classified as a National Historic site, together with King Dinh ’s temple, which is just a few hundred meters away.
Sophisticated wood and stone sculptures colored in golden and crimson and dated from the 16th and 17th century help bring a sacred atmosphere into the interior area. Tourists have to pass the temples of the subordinates in order to see the final parts of the construction, the temple where there are statues of the King and his family.
Meanwhile, the temple only serves worship practices towards the king, his wife and his elder son, who succeeded him in power. The real tomb of King Le is isolated one kilometer from the frequently-visited temple. The tomb, with the backdrop of the Ma Yen Mountain and facing the picturesque rice field, was built in the early 20th century.
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