Friday, May 6, 2016

Situated in Huong Son Site, Hanoi, Huong Pagoda complex is considered as one among centers of Buddhism in Vietnam. The pagoda complex consists of several Buddhist pagodas and temples on Huong Tich lime-stone Mountain. Located at the center of the complex is Huong Pagoda (so-called Trong Pagoda), which was built inside Huong Tich Cave - the most beautiful grotto of the South.

Located approximately 70 kilometers south of Hanoi, and downstream from the town of My Duc on the Yen River in the Huong Tich Mountains, Chua Huong is a riverside complex of Buddhist temples that draws large numbers of pilgrims from throughout Vietnam. Legends claim a Buddhist monk discovered the site over 2000 years ago and that the first temples were constructed in the 15th century.

The main pilgrimage season at Chua Huong is during the Huong Pagoda festival, is a Buddhist festival held annually and lasts three months, from the 6th day of Lunar New Year to the 6th day of the third lunar month in the year. But, the official days of the festival is only from 15th to 20th day of the second lunar month. Huong Pagoda Festival mainly consists of sightseeing trips to pagodas, temples and caves as well as visiting ceremonies to ask favours from Lord Buddha.

The Huong Pagoda Festival

In addition, cultural activities and sporting contests are also held on the occasion of Huong Pagoda Festival: boat racing, climbing, folk song singing, etc. These festive activities take place throughout the festival.

A pilgrimage to the Huong Pagoda Festival cannot only be for religious reasons, but to see the numerous natural shapes that are typical of the landscape and the buildings that are valuable artifacts of the nation. When you make a pilgrimage to Huong Pagoda you are in the middle of nature at its best, with a gorgeous river, caves, and mountains. Therefore, people of different ages all so interested in the Huong Pagoda Festival.

The primary temple in the complex is known as the Perfume Pagoda. Also known as Chua Trong (meaning Inner Temple), it is situated inside the Huong Tich Cave, which is a steep 4-kilometer climb uphill from the river.

The entrance of the cave has the appearance of an open dragon’s mouth and Chinese characters are carved in a wall at the mouth of the cave. Inside the cave are many statues of deities, including a large statue of the Buddha, as well as one of the Bodhisattva Quan Am.

Among the naturally occurring features of the cave are numerous stalactites and stalagmites, many of which are named, believed to possess special powers, and worn smooth from years of rubbing by visitors. Pilgrims often gather under one particular stalactite, which resembles a breast, to catch drops of water in hopes of being blessed with health.

Huong Tich cave is also considered a sacred place because legend says that the Bodhisattva Quan Am visited it in order to help save human souls. Important temples at the lower, riverside part of the complex include the Den Trinh, Thien Tru and Giai Oan.

Huong Tich cave

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