Buddhism in Vietnam

Perfume Pagoda


Perfume Pagoda (Huong Tich) Festival in Hanoi is the most popular and longest festival in this country. Located in Huong Son Commune of My One District in Ha Tay province, the Perfume Pagoda (Huong Tich) is basically a group of caves reflecting the architectural splendor and human creativity in its finest blend.

<< The Prfume Pagoda, Hanoi

After 70 km or 2 hours driving out of Hanoi, located on the limestone rocks of Huong Son Mountain in beautiful and mystical surroundings. Unlike other temples in Vietnam, the only way to reach this sanctuary is floating along a narrow but extremely poetic stream by rowing boats that takes 45 minutes. An iron boat can carry 3-5 people and a large wooden boat – up to 20 locals. The stream is edged by rice, grass, small paths, and temples here and there.

What to see

A local pilgrim can spend here traditionally three days to visit entirely the area and pray at all the temples. The first temple they often stop is called Den Trinh (i.e. The Shrine for First Presenting), where Vietnamese burn the first jossticks to inform the local deities about their presence and pray for a good trip and good luck for the year ahead. If you are anxious to reach the main Wharf of Huong Son mountain to start the uphill trip to see the Main Grotto of Huong Tich, you may skip this temple, especially in the peak season between January and early April.

The uphill trip takes an hour climbing on the ancient flat and sometime slippery stones, which have been here thousand years ago. The road is "breathtaking" in all aspects – you will have some exercise, and at the same time have chance to take some stops to contemplate beautiful scenery and daily life of local farmers, who plant cassava and apricots in the valleys, who run quickly on the slippery stone with their burdens of tapioca, apricots or medicinal herbs whilst you are careful with your steps. 

The main pagoda is set in a huge grotto containing a highly decorative shrine. Each stalactite and stalagmite inside, which are soaked by undercurrent, is combined with a legend about its miracle and good luck. Most of them became small shrines by now. Remember that the stone grotto is huge and very cool, so stop for a while at the entrance to dry your sweat before coming in.

Huong Tich Festival

Perfume Pagoda (Huong Tich) Festival in Hanoi is celebrated from the 6th day of the first month to the end of the third month according to the lunar calendar. According to Vietnamese faith, Huong Son is believed to be a heaven where Brodhisattva Kwan Yin is worshipped and thus is considered to be the paradise of Budhha. 

First time visitors to Hanoi will learn that this pagoda is the most prominent of pilgrimage for the Buddhists in northern part of Vietnam. Thousands of pilgrims are said to endure hardships to reach these sacred caves. They go there to invoke well-being, happiness and prosperity in the future. The devotees are required to ride on boats across Yen Stream. The boats are generally rowed by young women who offer riding services. 

Visitors will be impressed by the green landscape with pulsating green rice fields. The landscape is also dotted with moulds of limestone till you reach the base of Huong Mountain. As you walk up to the cave across the stone steps, you will come across various traditional pagodas, monasteries and shrines.

Features of Perfume Pagoda (Huong Tich) Festival in Hanoi

  • A dragon dance is performed in the yard of Trinh Pagoda
  • Royal barge is also set sail on the 6th day of the month when the festival begins.
  • The festival is observed in three places- Huong Tich, Tuyet Son and Long Van.
  • Most of the crowd visits this place between the 15th and 20th day of the second month of the lunar calendar.
  • An impressive scenic landscape and lush greenery around the pagoda.



Buddhist Pilgrimage in Vietnam

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Take the Hanoi - Ha Dong - Van Dinh - Huong Son route or travel by water from Phu Ly Township along the river to Duc Port in Yen Vi. From the riverbank, you will have to tread on foot.