We traveled to Vietnam shortly after Tet, but it turned out that celebrations were still lingering, as we discovered on a visit to the Temple of Literature.
As we walked down the street toward the entrance, we stumbled on this bit of unexpected and unlikely art: A calligrapher was creating a giant scroll of poetry for the festival going on inside the temple. A thick crowd gathered as he made his way down the yards-long scroll, making deft and elegant brushstrokes.
Being in Vietnam for Tet would be a unique experience, but we were happy to discover, quite by chance, that traveling just after the height of the holidays allowed us to enjoy some of the residual celebrations, too.
There is very little that rivals the artistry and care given to the temples in Vietnam. These sacred spaces, which have provided peace and refuge for generation upon generation of Buddhists, don’t skimp on details.
At the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, even the incense holders are delicately designed to protect the prayers that rise in smoke from their sticks.
Located on Quoc Tu Giam street in central Hanoi, the Temple of Literature was Vietnam’s first Univeristy. It is now used as a temple honoring Confucius. The grounds boast beautiful gardens, sacred headstones, and gorgeous carved rooms. It is definitely a spot not to miss in Hanoi!
Even with the expanse of the grounds, it can get extremely busy; so it is best to visit in the morning hours.