Tay Ho Temple

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Tay Ho Temple

Phu Tay Ho, a temple dedicated to a 17th-century princess named Lieu Hanh, more popularly known here as Thanh Mau (Mother of the Nation), is attractive for its gigantic banyan trees and the view from across West Lake's eastern shore. In the middle chamber of the main prayer hall is a sub-altar containing the statue of a holy tiger that protects Lieu Hanh, who is visible through the wooden slats of a locked separating wall inside the back chamber. In a second worship hall, women come to pray to another national mother figure, Nhi Thuong Ngan, for happiness and luck in motherhood and marriage. Two prayer stupas in the shady courtyard are dedicated to the guardian spirits of young boys and girls, Lau Cau and Lau Co, respectively. In spring and summer, you can sometimes catch locals treading water as far as 200 yards from the lakeside wall of the temple, fully clothed and with their conical hats glinting in the sun as they manipulate long pole-nets to collect snails from the bottom of the lake. A taxi is the easiest way to get here.

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