The Dinh and Le Temple were built to show the gratefulness of Vietnamese people to the two kings of Dai Viet (old name of Vietnam) Dinh Tien Hoang (Dinh Bo Linh) and Le Dai Hanh (Le Hoan) in the 10th century. In the past, Ninh Binh was the capital of the country in their reign, therefore, they decided to choose this place to worship the great contributions of these two emperors.

History of King Dinh & King Le

In 968, General Dinh Bo Linh reunified the whole country after defeating all 12 local lords and ascended the throne as King Dinh Tien Hoang, with the capital in Hoa Lu (Ninh Binh province). But he died in 979, and his wife Queen Duong Van Nga transferred the throne to Commander-in-chief Le Hoan when the country faced the threat of aggression from the Sung invaders. Le Hoan ascended the throne in 980, defeated the foreign aggressors, and ruled over the country. In 1009, the throne was transferred to Ly Cong Uan, the founder of the Ly dynasty, who moved the capital to Thang Long (present-day Hanoi).

Dinh - Le Temple in Hoa Lu Ninh Binh

Architecture of the Dinh – Le Temple

In Hoa Lu, two temples were built by the people to be dedicated to King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Hoan. The temple dedicated to King Dinh Tien Hoang (968 – 979) is located in Yen Trung village and is called Upper Temple. The temple dedicated to King Le Hoan (980 – 1009) is located in Yen Ha village and is called Lower Temple. The distance between them is about 500 meters.

In front of the entrance to the temple of King Dinh Tien Hoang, there is a stone pillar bearing four Chinese characters Bac Mon toa thuoc (Locked Door to the North). Behind the entrance is the royal courtyard with two big pillars in the middle of the courtyard is a carved stone royal bed 1.8m in length and 1.4m in width and two stone unicorns. The temple comprises three houses: the Ceremonial House, the Intermediate House and the Main Shrine for worshipping King Dinh Tien Hoang represented by a bronze statue. The worshipping tablets of the King’s offspring and generals are also found there.

Temple of king Le Dai Hanh

The temple dedicated to King Le Dai Harm contains, among other things, the worshipping tablets of Queen Duong Van Nga, of King Le Long Dinh, the successor of King Le Hoan. Both temples follow the architectural pattern of “noi cong ngoai quoc” and are arranged symmetrically along an axis. They were repaired in 1607 – 1610 and 1892 -1894.

The Dinh – Le temple are really worth your visit within your Ninh Binh day trips as well as Vietnam tour packages.