Huong Son (also called Perfume Pagoda) is located less than 70 km in the southwest of Hanoi. It is one of the most beautiful sceneries in the North of Vietnam.
How to get to visit this beautiful place? From Hanoi, we pass through Ha Dong town to come to Van Dinh then enters the wharf Duc. Here, we take a boat, travelling about 3 km on Yen Vi stream (we can also go by road instead). Huong Son is famous for its beauty for many years. According to Buddhist scriptures, Huong Son is a mountain in the north of the Himalayas (India) – the place Buddha sat ascetically. According to a book, Huong Tich Pagoda was built in 17th century by a venerable monk who discovered the location.
The strange thing in Huong Son is that mountains and streams are located in the middle of a delta. This complex beauty is harmony between mountains, forests, streams, lakes and caves. Perfume Pagoda Festival takes place every year in mid-spring (around February to March). Every year thousands of people come visiting this place. It takes up to a week visiting all the beautiful scenery of the pagoda, one day tour is enough to visit only the main cave Huong Tich.
Everyone knows the rule of this place, after getting off the boat, the first place we should visit is Trinh temple (which means present) – where pilgrims come to burn incense to “present” and “ask for permission” of Buddha to continue visiting other places in the following order:
– Thien Tru Pagoda (also called the outside pagoda) was built in the 18th century, where there is Thuy Thien tower (embodied as a crown tower tree). To the right of pagoda, there is Tien Son cave famous for five stone-carved statues and the formation of stalactites on the wall. It could make an eco as the ringing sound of bell. Surrounding Thien Tru pagoda, there are mountains and hundreds of towers built from the feudal dynasties. Here a new hotel has also been built for tourists’ accommodation just in case they want to stay here two or three days to visit the landscape. Then continue on pilgrimage to the inside pagoda (Huong Tich).
Located in a cave, the road to the inside pagoda (Huong Tich) is very beautiful with natural stone path. In the century 18th, the Lord Trinh Sam visited this place and asked to carve these words “Nam Thiên Đệ Nhất Động” (the most beautiful cave in Vietnam) on the gate . According to a legend, this cave was discovered twenty thousand years ago, but until 1575, people established altars of Buddhist temple in the cave. Entering the cave, a fantastic scene appears in the magical light, dim. Stalactites in the cave make many exotic images: rice plant, warm cocoon, showers, and child’s head. There are also statues of king, queen, Bodhisattva
Huong Son also has many fascinating cave pagoda such as Long Van Pagoda, Tuyet Son Pagoda, Hinh Bong cave and Mr. Seven cave which is 2 km from Long Van Pagoda and was found in 1975. This cave was shelter of many people thousands of years ago.
Whenever you are in Hanoi and have time, one day trip to Perfume Pagoda is a good suggestion. If you can not climb the mountian, cable car is always availabe for you.