Phap Van Pagoda is located about 20km north of Hanoi in the area of Phu Ninh village (Nanh village), Ninh Hiep commune, Gia Lam district, suburban Hanoi. Formerly, it was Phu Ninh village, Ha Duong district, Tu Son district, Kinh Bac town.
Phap Van Pagoda also known as Nanh Pagoda which was built from the Ly dynasty. Phap Van Pagoda is also called Ca Pagoda – a rustic name – by people in the village because it is the largest pagoda in the village. The village has three pagodas: Ca Pagoda (or Phap Van Pagoda), Khanh Ninh Pagoda built in 1664, Dai Bi Pagoda was built in 1673. The scale of the pagoda is quite large, including forecourt, bridge, Tam Quan, worship hall, Ta Vu and Huu Vu (the two symmetric building on the left and the right of the gate), the Father worship room, the Mother worship room and the auxiliary works.
Phap Van Pagoda is one of four big ancient pagodas in our country which include Dau Pagoda, Keo Pagoda, Dau Pagoda and Phap Van Pagoda. The pagoda was built in the manner of “Cong” letter (工) with 100 rooms, there is a large yard stretching to the very imposing tam quan gate, and also a floating house for water puppet show on a small pond for tourists on a food tour in Hanoi.
Phap Van Pagoda is one of four temples built to worship in the system of Tu Phap of Vietnamese (Four Gods or Buddhas of Vietnam, including Phap Van (God of Clouds), Phap Vu (God of Wind), Phap Loi (God of Thunder), Phap Dien (God of Lightning)). These Gods represent the elements which are very important in rice planting, so people built temples to worship and to pay homage.
Located on the land which owns the favorable terrain, the overall architecture of the pagoda is stretched with seven main room, two sub-rooms, six worship rooms and three upper worship rooms. The two sides are connected from the Main Hall to the Mother worship house. Most prominent in the overall architecture is the floating house is located on the lake. Floating house has 2 floors 8 roofs. Legend has it that the house was built by Nguyen Thi Huyen, wife of King Le Canh Hung in the 18th century.
Phap Van Temple has a total of 116 statues, which are meticulously created, making visitors on Hanoi street food walking tour. Many statues dating back to the 17th century, followed by the statues of the 18th century and statues of the 19th century. In the corridor of the pagoda, there are also the statues of monks who spread the light of Buddhism to people, that the Vietnamese often call Eighteen Arhat. It is noteworthy for visitors on Hanoi street food tour that the image of the one of Arhat was carved on the natural stone. This is unique phenomena in Phap Van Pagoda that is full of traditional Vietnamese art. The system of relics in the temple is also extremely rich in types and materials such as stone, bronze bell, etc. All are in ancient style and precious created from the Mac – Le – Tay Son – Nguyen dynasty.
Phap Van Pagoda is really a heritage of Thang Long – Hanoi and the country. The temple is not only a famous landscape but also a place where many scientific works of national and international researchers.