Friday, May 13, 2011

My adventure to Hanoi ( 4 ) Visiting UNCLE HO'S Mausoleum and Museum

( Welcome to Hanoi ! )

Let us now walk to the HO CHI MINH Mausoleum and Museum...

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum was modelled after the Mausoleum of Lenin in Russia. It is located at BA DINH SQUARE--- one of the few green and unoccupied areas of Hanoi. Many important events take place at this square. The most notable event that happened at this square was on September 2, 1945 -- Ho Chi Minh read the Vietnam Independence Declaration. It was also in this square where the funeral of Ho Chi Minh was held. The building is dedicated to house Ho Chi Minh's preserved body and a place where the locals express their admiration and gratitude towards their national hero. It is popularly known among the Vietnamese as " UNCLE HO'S " Mausoleum. It was built in 1973 and finished in 1975.

The construction of this mausoleum was against the will of Ho Chi Minh. As he passed away, he wished  to be cremated and his ashes to be scattered all over the country.

Visiting the Mausoleum is free of charge but their are some rules to be followed. No short skirts or tank tops are allowed. Taking photos is strictly prohibited inside the mausoleum. Visitors are not allowed to stop and hold the constant queue up as the place is constantly busy. According from the people who have gone to the mausoleum --- every year Uncle Ho's remains are sent to Russia for maintenance.. this happens around October onwards. It is best to check with your tour guide before visiting. I was not able to get inside the mausoleum -- it was closed. Vietnam was celebrating a 4-day holiday at that time. I ended up walking around the complex and moving on to the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

According to our local guide, Tom, if you will look at the roof of this museum... the architecture of the museum's roof  has the shape of an opened lotus flower.

Our next stop is the One-Pillar Pagoda.. CHUA MOT COT ( that is how it is known in Vietnam ) has one of the most special structures in Vietnam. 

This historic building was built during the Ly Dynasty in 1409 in honor of the goddess QUAN AM. It is a Buddhist temple constructed out of timber and perched on a single pillar of stone in the middle of a small lotus lake. 

After walking all around the complex under the unbearable hot and humid weather, Tom asked us if we wanted to have some local refreshments. Something to quench our thirst. We went to a small stall and sat on those tiny plastic chairs ( they are not the regular chairs -- but those chairs that are used by children ). Please take note--- if you have a big body you will not fit in the chair )... Tom ordered our drinks... and it was iced SUGAR CANE JUICE.  It was perfect for the weather that day. I asked Tom how they made this juice... he said... it was sugar cane with the skin of KUMQUAT ( later I found out -- it was our local calamansi ).... You must try their sugar cane juice with kumquat. 

If you are tired of walking all day... you can get on a CYCLO -- it is another common way of getting around in Vietnam. Cylco is a special kind of bicycle with a seat at the front. It is Vietnam's answer to the tuktuk of Thailand and our tricycles here in Manila.

( Goodbye ! )

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