The former imperial city of Hue in central Thua Thien-Hue province is conducting a restoration project in a bid to save Dieu De, which was considered as a national pagoda under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).
The master plan for restoration of the pagoda (Source: internet)
Work started on June 11 and is expected to be completed within the next three years. The Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha in Hue is supervising the project, with the Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, a local governmental body that manages relics built by the dynasty in the city, acting as technical adviser.
The restoration work includes the reinforcement of all buildings in the pagoda and the demolition of the pagoda’s main building, which used to serve as the praying hall. The old concrete hall will be replaced by a wooden structure made in the Vietnamese old housing style. However, the master plan of the pagoda on 10,000 sq.m lot will remain the same.
A total of 5,000 large timber logs have been prepared for the restoration. The project, which costs US$1.4 million, will be funded through donations from Buddhist donors.
According to the Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha in Hue, all structures in the pagoda have deteriorated over time and required urgent repairs for the safety of worshippers and visitors.
The pagoda was originally a private royal residence designed for Prince Mien Tong, who later became Thieu Tri (1841-1847), the Nguyen Dynasty’s third king. It was named after the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, or Tu Dieu De in the Vietnamese language.
After his coronation, the king turned Dieu De into the national pagoda in 1844. Since then, the pagoda has served as a popular landmark in the former imperial capital city thanks to its natural and structural beauty.
Today Dieu De is an important place for local Buddhists, who have conducted a ceremonial bathing of Buddha in the pagoda during Vesak every year since 1960s, followed by a Buddhist parade across the city beginning from the pagoda.
It also provides shade for the city’s residents to relax under on hot summer days.