Yen Tu pagoda complex silenced by Covid-19

 Sacred Yen Tu Mountain in Quang Ninh Province was left deserted as pagodas and temples all closed to pilgrims amid the current Covid-19 wave.

A checkpoint on the way to Yen Tu Mountain in Uong Bi Town of Quang Ninh, home to world famous Ha Long Bay.

All pagodas and temples in Quang Ninh were shut from Feb. 14 to March 2 as the northern province became a major Covid-19 hotspot, with 61 community transmissions recorded during the country's latest outbreak that commenced on Jan. 28.

Overcrowding is common at pilgrim sites in the early days of the first lunar month annually.

In previous years, Yen Tu received tens of thousands of Buddhist pilgrims a day during the first lunar months seeking to pray for luck and peace.

Visitors can take a cable car, built 10 years ago, to Dong Pagoda at the mountain top.

An employee remains on duty to operate the cable car even though there is no one around.

The footpath to Hoa Yen Pagoda is left completely deserted.

Yen Tu Mountain is associated with the legend of King Tran Nhan Tong, who founded the Truc Lam Zen sect in the late 13th century after abdicating his throne and embracing the life of a Buddhist monk on the mountain.

All temples and pagodas on the mountain stand bereft of visitors.

At an altitude of 535 meters above sea level, Hoa Yen Pagoda is the oldest and biggest in Yen Tu.

Mot Mai Pagoda, one of the top tourist attractions on Yen Tu Mountain.

Quang Ninh has recorded no Covid-19 community transmissions over the past three weeks. Provincial authorities allowed some non-essential services to resume operations from Wednesday except in Dong Trieu Town, formerly under lockdown.

But pandemic prevention protocols remain in place, including social distancing, health declarations and masks, while tourist services are only allowed to serve locals.

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