Bai Dinh Pagoda (Ninh Binh) – The majestic beauty of a peaceful place

Located on the mountainside, between the vast valley of lakes and rocky mountains is a pagoda with monumental architecture that is massive but imbued with traditional identity, hailed as the largest temple complex in Southeast Asia. It is the complex of Bai Dinh pagoda.

The pagoda is located at the western gateway of Hoa Lu ancient capital, in Gia Sinh commune – Gia Vien – Ninh Binh, 15 km from Ninh Binh city, 95 km from Hanoi, 25 km from Tam Coc Ninh Binh. Bai Dinh pagoda complex includes an old pagoda area and a new pagoda area built in 2003. Over the years, this place has become a famous place, attracting many Buddhists and visitors.

The name Bai Dinh pagoda means towards Mount Dinh, where heroic events in Vietnamese history took place. Bai Dinh pagoda mountain is the place where King Dinh Tien Hoang set up an altar to pray for rain and good weather, where the chess ceremony took place when King Quang Trung went to Thang Long to destroy the Qing army.

The ancient Bai Dinh pagoda was discovered by Saint Nguyen Minh Khong, who turned caves into pagodas when he came here to find a medicinal plant for King Ly Than Tong. Legend has it that there are many precious medicinal plants that Saint Nguyen Minh Khong often came down to collect and brought back to make “elixir”. Later, many physicians from all over the world also came to look for precious medicinal plants to treat people’s diseases. During the resistance war, Bai Dinh was also a revolutionary relic belonging to Quynh Luu war zone, where the leader of the Communist Party of Vietnam propagated the revolution to the people.

The ancient Bai Dinh pagoda is located on a 187m high mountain, about 800m southeast of Tam The temple of the new temple area. This temple area is located near the top of a fairly quiet mountainous area, including a front house in the middle, turning to the right is the Bright cave to worship Buddha, then to the temple of Cao Son god at the end of the back door of the Bright cave; Turn to the left is the temple of Saint Nguyen and then go to the Dark cave to worship the mother and fairy. This place is located in the land that fully converges the elements of human genius according to the Vietnamese folk concept, that is, the land of the birth of the King, the birth of the Saint, the birth of the God.

In 1997, Bai Dinh ancient temple was recognized as a national historical – cultural – revolutionary relic. It is very interesting that although the pagoda has a history dating back to the Dinh Dynasty, there are many architectural details and antiques bearing the bold imprint of the Ly Dynasty.

The pagoda was built in the style of cave pagoda architecture, which is quite common in Ninh Binh, without the curved roofs of the pagoda or the nose, nor the huge, massive pillars or the magnificent upper palace. All the altars for worshiping Buddha and Mother of the temple are placed in the heart of the dark caves, adding to the sacred and mysterious atmosphere at the meditation door. Cave ceilings have become solid pagoda roofs, shielding the sacred places of Buddha and Mother for centuries. And Bai Dinh is not only a place for people to show their devotion, but also a beautiful landscape. When visiting here, King Le Thanh Tong personally dedicated four words “Ming Dinh famous” praising the beauty of this place.

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