Friday, April 17, 2015

Hanoi - Ho Chin Minh Mausoleum

Date: 1st January 2015

The hotel staff advised that it would be too late for us to visit the mausoleum of Ho Chin Minh as the ceremony starts at 8am and completed at 11am. She offered to book us on following day. however, since we have set a day trip to Ha Long Bay, we proceeded with our plan to view on the external side without going into the ceremonial procedure, which is least important. The mausoleum is located on the west side of Ba Dinh Square, a heavy grey structure, built on stone quarried from Marble Mountain near Danang. It is here the late Ho Chi Minh’s, father of Vietnam’s Independence rest, i.e. his last resting place.

Ho Chin Minh was an unassuming man, who notably shunned the comforts and trapping of power. He had specially requested that he be cremated and his ashes scattered in Northern, Central, and Southern Vietnam, symbolizing the national unity to which he had devoted his life. In keeping with these beliefs, he had also vetoed the construction of a small museum on his life at his home village near Kim Lien, Nam Dan District, Nghe An Province, arguing that the funds could be better employed in building a school.

Ba Dinh Square, set similar function as KL's Merdeka Square & Beijing Tianamen's Squrae

However, after Ho Chi Minh’s death in 1969, the leading members of the Vietnamese politburo altered his final testament by deleting his request to be cremated. Instead, with the help of Soviet specialists, the leader was embalmed and installed at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in 1975. Although the mausoleum is not as grandeur as Mao Tse Dung mausoleum in Tianamen Square in Beijing, Ho Chin Minh Mausoleum has becoming a biggest attraction in Hanoi.

The building’s exterior is considered by many as both ponderous and unappealing. Astonishingly, the architects apparently intended the structure to represent a lotus flower, though it is difficult to understand how. Inside, the mood is somber and decidedly respectful, if somewhat overpowering at times. Ho Chi Minh, dressed in simple clothing favored by Chinese nationalist leader Sun Yat Sen, lies in a chilled, dim room, his crossed hands resting on dark cloth covers. Way back in 2005, I was able to see the Mao Tse Dong body in his mausoleum, a pity that I was not able to see another ex communist leader preserved body in Hanoi. But then later, I was able to see more of him at the Museum, which museum built specially dedicated to this great man of his nation 

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is open from 8.00 am till 11.00 am and closed on Monday and Friday. The last entrance  is at 10:15. The city down south (Saigon) may have his name, but only Hanoi has the man himself, entombed in distinctly Lenin-esque fashion and against his wishes. The mausoleum becoming an important pilgrimage site for many Vietnamese, especially from the north which should be approached with respect and reverence. Any kind of noisy behavior, loitering, and inappropriate clothing is strictly forbidden. No talking, revealing clothing (shorts should be knee length and no exposed shoulders), or other signs of disrespect allowed while viewing. Photos are allowed only from outside, facing the grand Ba Dinh Square.

Take note that there’s so much restrictions inside the tom, where only purses are allowed into the tomb strictly no camera. The soldiers shall be performing body search and left luggage is handled in a complicated scheme. There is an office near the street for large bags, with separate windows for Vietnamese and foreigners, and a further office for cameras, which will be transported to a third office right outside the exit of the mausoleum. Items checked in at the first office, however, will stay there. Note that small digital cameras can be taken into the mausoleum despite their use not being permitted inside. The mausoleum is usually closed for a couple months around the end of the year, when the body is taken abroad for maintenance.

Information as obtain from various website.
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