Khai Dinh Tomb is located at the slope of Chau Chu Mountain, about 10 kilometers away from the Imperial City of Hue.
Khai Dinh Tomb was built by the order of the 12th Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty in Vietnam, Emperor Khai Dinh. The 12th Emperor Khai Dinh reigned from 1916 to 1925. He was the son of the 9th Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, Emperor Dong Khanh.
( Khai Dinh tomb – Hue tombs)
Emperor Khai Dinh did not immediately become an emperor after his father. Emperor Thanh Thai and Emperor Duy Tan became the 10th and 11th emperors prior to Khai Dinh. Both of the emperors were exiled by the French for their resistance to the colonial regime. Due to these circumstances, the French government decided to enthrone the son of Emperor Dong Khanh, the most submissive Nguyen emperor during the colonial regime, stood with French and opposed any independence movements.
Believing his son, Khai Dinh, will be as submissive as his father, he roused to the throne in 1916 and he did not fail the French colonizers. Khai Dinh became the most criticized emperor in Nguyen dynasty. The emperor turned the Imperial City into a mixture of Western and Oriental designs. Because of grandeur and luxury of life he had, Emperor Khai Dinh then raised taxes to sustain it.
(Khai Dinh tombs – Hue travel guide)
One of proof of his lavish personality is his tomb itself. It was built from 1920 to 1931 taking 11 years to complete. The tomb is a blend of Western and Eastern architecture. The tomb was completed by the 13th and last emperor of Nguyen dynasty, Emperor Bao Dai, Khai Dinh’s successor and only son. After his father’s death in 1925, Bao Dai ordered to finish his father’s tomb, the last royal tomb that has been built.
Khai Dinh tomb though being the smallest in size compared to all the royal tombs, it is also one of the most expensive one due to the detailed sculptures and architectural designs that were all purchased outside the country, like France, Germany, China, Japan and others. It required a big amount of money and to complete it, Emperor Khai Dinh raised the taxes which by then were already high and ordinary people are having troubles in paying them. This is the very reason why the emperor is the most unpopular emperor of all and the most hated to say the least.
To get to the Khai Dinh tomb, one should climb 127 steps of stairs. In the tomb area, you’ll have to climb some steps to reach the gate where the biggest dragon statue in the country is located. In the courtyard of the tomb, there is a set of bodyguard statues similar with all the other royal tombs and “two storey with eight roofs” made of reinforced concrete.
The Khai Thanh Palace is the attraction in the Khai Dinh tomb. The walls are densely decorated and inlaid with elaborate glass and porcelain designs from Japan and China and some from European country. The floor is covered with enameled flowers bricks and the ceiling is painted with nine dragons, appearing in fine fleeting clouds.
The grave of Khai Dinh is located at the rear room of the Khai Thanh palace. The statue of Khai Dinh in his throne and also the altar made for him lies in the same room.