|Location:||My Duc, 69km south of Hanoi. Boats start at Ben Duc Harbour upstream on a tributary of the Yen River.|
|Open:||All year. |
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1575||first shrine by locals.|
|1770||start of Huong Pagoda Festival under the reign of Le-Trinh dynasty.|
This place is the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site in northern Vietnam. It includes Huong Tich (Perfume Pagoda) and Dong Huong Tich (Perfume Pagoda Cave), which is also called Chua Trong (inner temple). This cave is a huge arched shelter with an altar inside. A long staircase leads down to the bottom of the cave.
The cave is very crowded during the Pagoda Festival when it is visited by up to 30,000 pilgrims a day. The festival starts in late January to mid-February each year, and ends about ten weeks later. During the rest of the year much less visitors make this a pleasant spot.
The centre of the cave is a large statue of Buddha made from green stone. But many stalactites and stalagmites are also worshipped. There are two stalagmites who are said to bring fertility to childless pilgrims. It is even possible to take influence on the gender of the child: one is for a boy, the other for a girl. Water dripping from a stalactite brings health, and other stalagmites bring silver, gold or happiness when rubbed.
The temple is reached on a boat trip upstream on a tributary of the Yen River. The shallow metal longboats start at Ben Duc Harbour and reach their destination after one hour of calm boat trip. From here a trail leads uphill for more than an hour to the temple. Because of the heat it is advisable to use the cable car instead.