Hanoi’s Huong Pagoda packed as it reopens early

 Nearly 2,000 pilgrims visited Huong (Perfume) Pagoda, one of the most popular spiritual sites in Hanoi, on Friday after it opened a week earlier than planned.

The pagoda, actually a complex with a collection of temples and pagodas built amid mountains and forests in My Duc District, reopened on Friday after being closed for one year.

To reach it, pilgrims need to take a boat ride along the four-kilometer-long Yen Stream, and by early morning hundreds of boats were ready to carry them.

On January 25 My Duc District authorities had announced the cancelation of the Huong Pagoda festival held usually from the sixth day of the first lunar month to the last day of the third month, and prohibited the pagoda from allowing in pilgrims over Covid fears.

But last month Hanoi authorities agreed to reopen it on February 16 with pandemic safety measures in place.

Boats dock along Yen Stream waiting for pilgrims.

This year’s ticket prices remain unchanged at around VND130,000 ($5.73) per person.

Nguyen Ba Hien, head of the pagoda complex management, said preparations for reopening finished earlier than planned and so the pagoda decided to allow pilgrims from Friday.

Each boat can carry 15-16 people and the trip takes around an hour.

People go through a checkpoint leading to Thien Tru Pagoda and a series of other small temples.

People carry offerings to the Trinh Ngu Nhac Temple.

Vietnamese, especially Buddhists, have a long tradition of visiting pagodas and temples in the new year to pray for peace and luck during the year. An estimated 70 percent of the population is either Buddhist or follows Buddhist practices.

Thien Tru, one of the main pagodas in the complex, was crowded in contrast with its desolate appearance in February last year when Covid was raging in northern provinces, forcing its closure.

All pilgrims are required to weak face masks all the time.

Pilgrims flood Huong Tich Cave, the heart of the complex, where they try to catch some ‘holy water' dripping from stalagmites.

At the entrance to the cave, the words ‘Nam Thien De Nhat Dong’ (The Best Cave in the South Sky) was carved in 1770 by Lord Trinh Sam of the Trinh family that ruled the country at the time.

Nhận xét