Just 10 km from Hue city center, Khai Dinh Tomb is the last highlight construction of the Nguyen dynasty. It is also the most expensive and beautiful royal tomb in the world. It is a unique and special tomb because of the building materials, as well as architecture.
Khai Dinh Tomb Location
Khai Dinh Tomb is as known as Ung Lang (應陵) the Burial area of Khai Dinh emperor (1885-1925)- the 12th emperor of the Nguyen dynasty. It lies on Chau E mount, Thuy Bang commune, Huong Thuy ward, Hue city.
Khai Dinh Tomb History
The Construction preparation
All emperors of the Nguyen dynasty thought that this life is just a temporary life when you passed away already, you would live a real life. So what you needed in this life, they all prepared the royal tombs for themselves before they died. When Khai Dinh first came to the throne, he ordered to build the tomb at the age of 31.
To build his resting place, he ordered the Fengshui tellers to find the best Fengshui site and chose the Chau E mount. With this site, the royal tomb of Khai Dinh gets a small hill in front to be the screen. Get the Chop Vung and Kim Son mountains to be the green dragon on the left, White tiger on the right guarding and protecting the tomb. Moreover, the Chau E stream in the middle, all make great Fengshui for Khai Dinh Tomb Hue.
The construction of Khai Dinh Tomb started on September, 9th, 1941 by the construction commander Le Van Ba lasts 11 years to complete. To build this special tomb, they recruited a lot of skillfully experienced handicraft men such as Phan Van Tanh; Nguyen Van Kha, Ky Duyet, etc.
To get enough money to build the tomb, the Khai Dinh emperor raised the land tax up to 30% more. They went to France to buy cement, to China and Japan to buy color glass; ceramic, Ardoise tiles, porcelain to break them into small pieces to inlaid for decoration.
Compare with other Hue Royal Tombs, Khai Dinh Tomb Hue is the smallest but is the most expensive and beautiful tomb in the World. The total area is just 1/2 hectare. But it is really an impressive and unique tomb.
Khai Dinh Tomb Architecture
About the architecture, this Royal Tomb is out of the traditional architecture. It is the mix of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Western and Eastern, modern and old architecture.
To get up to the main shrine- Thien Dinh Palace, you have to step up 127 steps. So You can easily see the Hinduism architecture on the columns of the entrance. The two pillars following the stupa style of Buddhism, The crosses on the fence is from Christianity; and the stone stele Pavillion is exact the Roman architecture.
This is the result of 2 characteristics:
The cultural exchange between Eastern and Western in the time French controlling Vietnam. And the character, style of Khai Dinh emperor as well.
The Thien Dinh Palace
This is the tallest and the main construction in this royal tomb. All of the decorations inside the tomb are the top of the art of inlaid color glass, porcelain, ceramics, etc. The topic of decoration in this palace is about 4 seasons, the royal stuff, beautiful scenes in Vietnam. Moreover, you will see a lot of weird stuff from Europe as well.
In front of the palace is the altar to worship Khai Dinh portrait, Both sides are the rooms for the guardians protecting the royal tomb. Go inside there is the bronze statue of emperor Khai Dinh cast in France in 1920. it was the 39th Birthday gift from the French government offered to him. The special about the statue is it was cast following the right size of the emperor. Above the sculpture is the parasol with a lot of 3D dragons guarding the emperor. Behind him is the Sunset, it means the emperor passed away already.
In other royal tombs, you don’t know where the coffin is, but in Khai Dinh Tomb, you now exact, under the sculpture, 9 m deep is the coffin and body of Khai Dinh emperor.
The most beautiful thing in this tomb is the ceiling painting, its name is ” Cuu Long An Van” means ” 9 dragons hiding into the clouds”. It means the emperor, people, and servants are all in harmony. It was painted by the artist ” Phan Van Tanh”, he painted by his feet.
Khai Dinh Tomb entrance fee
To visit this wonderful royal tomb, you have to buy an entrance ticket, and it costs VND 150,000 for adults (roughly USD7), VND 30,000 for children (roughly USD 1.3) and the open time is from 7 am to 5 pm every day even on the national holidays as well.
How to get there?
Well, to get to the Khai Dinh tomb, you can ride a bike, drive a scooter with helmets as well as you can book Hue City Private Tour or Hue Luxury Group Tour with us. Doing tours with us you will understand deeply the royal lives of Nguyen dynasty emperors, concubines as well as eunuchs. Moreover, you will enjoy the beautiful and interesting stories, myths told by our experienced tour guide as well as enjoy the great Hue specialities.