16:37 | 16/01/2020 Culture & Art
(VEN) - The festival season from January to March of the lunar calendar beckons to visitors to Ninh Binh Province, where they can enjoy the spring, attend the Bai Dinh Pagoda festival, and sightsee at the Trang An Landscape Complex - a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Trang An Landscape Complex
Located seven kilometers from the center of Ninh Binh City, the Trang An eco-tourism site is a harmonious combination of wild forests and rivers and a major system of distinctive caves. Tourists can discover the majesty of the mountains and the mystery of the caves on boats rowed by local residents. During the festive season, the pier is extremely busy. Each small boat carrying four to five tourists takes visitors to sacred sites, such as Trinh Temple - the famous thousand-year-old temple in Ninh Binh Province, or Tran Temple - the ancient stone temple worshipping Saint Quy Minh Dai Vuong, one of the generals under the 18th King Hung Vuong. The Trang An Festival is held annually on March 18 of the lunar calendar to commemorate the merit of Saint Quy Minh Dai Vuong.
Bai Dinh Pagoda
After the boat trip, visitors can go to the Bai Dinh Pagoda, where they can worship and pray for good luck. The complex consists of the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda, the new pagoda, the Bao Thien Stupa, and the Maitreya Statue. The ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda was founded in 1136 by Zen Buddhist Priest Nguyen Minh Khong. The pagoda is located on the mountainside between vast valleys of lakes and mountains. It includes natural sites, such as Ngoc Well, the Light Cave where Sakyamuni Buddha is worshipped and the Dark Cave where the nation’s Mother Goddess (Mau) is worshipped. There is also a little temple that worships God Cao Son. The massive newly renovated Bai Dinh Pagoda rises up majestically from the mountainside. It is comprised of the Tam The Temple, Phap Chu Temple, Quan Am Temple, bell tower, and stupa called Bao Thap.
Other special features include the nine-storied Bodhi tower and the garden of Buddha stone statues. The pagoda has become a popular spiritual destination, setting records for the largest gilt bronze statue in Asia, longest corridor of Arhat statues, largest bronze Buddha statue in Southeast Asia, and largest bell in Vietnam. The Bao Thien Stupa contains Buddhist relics from India, honoring spiritual and cultural values of Bai Dinh Pagoda in particular, and Vietnamese Buddhism in general. Pilgrims can walk or take the tram to go sightseeing and worship.
To meet the needs of visitors, the Bai Dinh Pagoda offers a night tour, too. The opening ceremony of the Bai Dinh Pagoda festival is held on the sixth day of the first lunar month. The annual festival remains open until the third lunar month of the year to commemorate Zen Buddhist Priest Nguyen Minh Khong.
Kim Chi & Thu Huyen