Vietnam’s largest pagoda complex beckons spring pilgrims

Vietnam’s largest pagoda complex beckons spring pilgrims

By Giang Huy   January 30, 2020 | 05:06 pm GMT+7

Tam Chuc Pagoda stands on the banks of the eponymous 600 hectare lake that has been described as a mini-version of Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province, home to numerous small islets. The Tam Chuc complex is a 5,100 hectare site, in which the area for the pagoda is 144 hectares.Over the past two days, an increasing number of pilgrims have been visiting the pagoda, making the parking lots area overcrowded.

Tam Chuc Pagoda lies on the banks of the eponymous 600 hectare lake described as a mini-version of UNESCO heritage site Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province, home to numerous small islets. The Tam Chuc complex covers 5,100 hectares, of which the pagoda takes up 144.

Over the past two days, an increasing number of pilgrims have visited the pagoda, overcrowding parking lots.

To move from the parking lot to the temple, visitors can travel by boat or electric tourist cars. The wharf is always crowded with people waiting to get on the boat. Tickets for a boat trip cost VND200,000 ($8.8) per person for a round trip. Vietnamese people, especially Buddhist followers have a long tradition of visiting pagodas and temples during Tet to pray for peace and luck for the new year. Vietnam is a predominantly Buddhist nation. It is estimated that over 70 percent of the population are either Buddhist or follow Buddhist practices.

Visitors reach the pagoda via electric car or boat, round trip tickets costing VND200,000 ($8.7) per person.

Vietnamese, especially Buddhists, have a long tradition of visiting pagodas and temples in the first lunar month to pray for peace and luck in the new year. It is estimated that over 70 percent of Vietnam’s population are either Buddhists or follow Buddhist practices.

Visitors scramble to board a boat while each boat can only carry a maximum of 60 people.

Visitors scramble to board a boat, each designed with a maximum 60 passenger capacity.

About 500 electric cars are operating at full capacity. No vacancy, many people had even to cling on to the vehicles. Tickets for electric car tours is VND90,000 per person for a trip to go into the pagoda.

With only 500 electric cars in service, many visitors had to cling on to the sides of vehicles. One-way tickets for a 12 km electric car trip around the pagoda cost VND90,000 ($4) per person.

[Due to overloaded electric cars, the management board of the pagoda has mobilized nearly 100 passenger cars with 29 to 45 seats to serve pilgrims.

Nearly 100 buses were mobilized help transport believers to the pagoda.

The Ngoc (Pearl) Pagoda, a part of the Tam Chuc pagoda complex, standing on a mountain 468 meters high had no empty space. The Ngoc Pagoda with a height of 15 meters, is considered a masterpiece in stone architecture in Vietnam. The whole structure is made of red granite weighing over 2,000 tons, with no cement used in its joints.

The 13 meter-high Ngoc (Pearl) Pagoda, perched on a 468 meter-high mountain, is considered a local masterpiece of stone architecture. The entire structure is made of red granite weighing over 2,000 tons, with no cement used in its joints.

From Ngoc Tower, visitors can enjoy an aerial view of the Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex.Legend has it that seven fairies in the shape of seven stars flew from the heaven to the Tam Chuc mountain area to wander the earth. The charming scenery of Tam Chuc was so attractive that they forgot to return home even though the God of Heaven six times rang bells of recall. The six islets in front of Tam Chuc Pagoda represent the six bells, while the seven islets behind the pagoda symbolize the seven fairies.Last year, the Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex hosted the Vesak Ceremony 2019 in celebration of the U.N. Day of Vesak, which commemorates the birth of the Buddha with a grand, extravagant celebration of the Buddha’s birthday and his enlightenment.

From Ngoc Tower, visitors can enjoy an aerial view of the entire complex.

Legend has it that seven fairies in the shape of seven stars flew from the heavens to Tam Chuc Mountain to wander the earth. The charming scenery proved so attractive they forgot to return home even though the God of Heaven six times rang bells of recall.

The six islets in front of Tam Chuc Pagoda represent the six bells, while the seven islets behind symbolize the seven fairies.

Last year, Tam Chuc Pagoda hosted the U.N. Day of Vesak, which commemorates the birth and enlightenment of Buddha.

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