Perfume Pagoda known as Chua Huong is a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone Huong Tich Mountains. It is the site of a religious festival which draws large numbers of pilgrims from across Vietnam. The centre of the Huong Temple lies in Huong Son Commune, Mỹ Đức District, former Hà Tây Province (now Hanoi). The center of this complex is the Perfume Temple, also known as Chua Trong (Inner Temple), located in Huong Tich Cave.
Perfume pagoda is a famous complex of relics and famous landscapes, including a system of caves, temples, pagodas and forests mixed with flowers and trees.
It is thought that the first temple was a small structure on the current site of Thien Tru which existed during the reign of Lê Thanh Tông in the 15th century. Legend claims that the site was discovered over 2000 years ago by a monk meditating in the area, who named the site after a Tibetan mountain where Lord Buddha practiced asceticism. A stele at the current temple dates the building of a terrace, stone steps and Kim Dung shrine to 1686, during the reign of Le Hy Tong, at around the same time that Chua Trong was being constructed. Over the years some of the structures were damaged and replaced. The original statues of Lord Buddha and Quan Am were cast from bronze in 1767 and replaced with the current statues in 1793.
Huong Pagoda complex has many architectural works scattered in the Yen stream valley. The main area is Ngoai pagoda, also known as Ho pagoda, whose name is Thien Tru pagoda. We will take a boat in Yen river to visit main pagoda. The many Pagodas that make up Chua Huong are spread out among the limestone hills and tropical forests in the area of Huong Mountain: Trinh temple, Thien Tru pagoda, Giai Oan pagoda, Huong Tich cave. There are many practices associated with Chua Huong and its various temples. Some of these are specifically Buddhist, while others are animist or part of popular religion in Vietnam.
The main pilgrimage season at Chua Huong is during the Huong Pagoda festival, when hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make their way to Huong Tich cave and the other temples. The longest lasting festival in Vietnam, it officially begins on February 15 on the lunar calendar, but the peak in visitors lasts from the middle of January to the middle of March.
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