Location: Huong Pagoda (Perfume Pagoda) is located in Huong Son district, Ha Tay province, about 75 km away from Southwest of Ha Noi. Surrounded by vast green rice-growing plains, this is a complex of pagodas and Buddhist shrines built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich Mountain.
Most temples were set amidst a chain of blue mountains, forests, lakes and grottoes. Among the better known sites here are Thien Chu (Pagoda Leading to Heaven), Giai Oan Chu (Purgatorial Pagoda), and Huong Tich Chu (Pagoda of the Perfumed Vestige). The highest cave is situated on the top of the mountain. Thousands of stone steps easily challenge tourists' adventurous desires. Even elderly women are devoutly wearing long kerchiefs while murmuring their prayers between their lips in the belief that it would lessen the arduousness of the climb.
Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims and tourists are attracted to visit this place especially in the three spring months because of The Chua Huong Festival. This festival, the biggest and longest annual festival in Viet Nam, was opened in My Duc district, northern Ha Tay province, on January 29th, the sixth day of the first lunar month. Visitors wish to enjoy the matchless beauty of the Huong Son lime-mountains in this time when apricot forests here blossom and to pay their tribute to Buddha, or more exactly to Avalokitasvara, one of Buddha's disciples.
The Huong pagoda has a long history in Vietnamese literature. The archeologists have found in several caves on the Huong Son mountain range indisputable evidences of the presence of early man. This pagoda, its name, has been a theme of many songs, topic of poetry, used in literary works as well as backdrops for paintings. The well-known poet in the 19th century, Chu Manh Trinh, wrote:
"Under the sky is the landscape of Buddha,The joy of visiting Huong Son is the dream of everyone Look! The mountains, the water, the clouds, People wonder, is here the land of fairies".
The scenery of Huong Son is that the mountains, river and forest and appears like an oasis in the middle of the great plains of northern Viet Nam.
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