Table Of Contents
- Bich Dong Pagoda Introduction
- Bich Dong Pagoda Location
- Bich Dong Pagoda Vietnam History
- What makes Bich Dong Pagoda attractive?
- Bich Dong Pagoda Tourists Information
Bich Dong Pagoda Introduction
Bich Dong Pagoda is a historical and cultural relic belonging to the Trang An – Tam Coc – Bich Dong scenic complex of Ninh Binh province.
This is an attractive spiritual tourist destination, bringing visitors to the majestic place of the Buddha’s door, the peace of the mountainous region. Every spring, the temple attracts a large number of Buddhists and tourists from all over the world who come here to worship and enjoy the scenery.
Bich Dong Pagoda Location
Bich Dong Pagoda Ninh Binh belongs to Dam Khe, Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province, an ancient temple built on the mountainside. Initially, the pagoda was named “Bach Ngoc Thach Son Dong” which means a beautiful, pure pearl-like pagoda in the deep mountain.
In 1774, during a visit by Lord Trinh Sam, the pagoda was renamed Bich Dong Pagoda. This is one of the famous scenic spots of the ancient capital, once known as “Nam Thien De Nhi Dong” (the second most beautiful cave in the country after Huong Tich cave in Hanoi).
After nearly 600 years of existence, this is a place to keep a lot of historical and cultural values. Nowadays, Bich Dong Pagoda has been ranked as a special national relic and recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage. This is one of the most sacred temples in Ninh Binh that attract all kinds of tourists every year.
How to get to Bich Dong?
Because it is located in the Tam Coc Bich Dong tourist complex, you should combine your visit to Tam Coc and Bich Dong pagoda for 1 day.
There is only a waterway to reach Tam Coc, which is to Cac communal house in Van Lam village, and to the Ngo Dong river wharf. From Tam Coc Ninh Binh, you can go to Bich Dong Pagoda by renting bicycles, motorbikes, taxis, or walking to enjoy the scenery. If not, you can book our Hanoi to Ninh Binh Private Car or Luxury Car from Hanoi to Ninh Binh with our English-speaking driver.
Bich Dong Pagoda Vietnam History
In 1705, during the reign of King Le Du Tong, there were two monks named Tri Kien and Tri The. A native of Vong Doanh and another from Dong Xuyen, Nghia Hung district, Nam Dinh province met and became brothers. Both monks were devout, and together they went to many places to spread Buddhism and build temples.
When they came to Bich Dong mountain, they found that this is a sacred place with beautiful terrain and a pagoda. The two monks decided to settle down, donate and rebuild the old temple into 3 new pagodas: Ha Pagoda, Trung Pagoda, and Thuong Pagoda to practice.
In the year of Dinh Hoi (1707), two monks cast a large bell, which is still hanging in Dark Cave. Two years later, in the 8th lunar month, they made the inscription of the Bich Dong pagoda in Nom characters.
In the year of Giap Ngo (1774), Trinh Sam lord came here for sightseeing. Perhaps impressed by the panoramic view of mountains, river caves, fields, and trees, the pagoda seemed to converge on a green background, so Lord Trinh Sam named it the pagoda Bich Dong.
What makes Bich Dong Pagoda attractive?
Bich Dong Pagoda Ninh Binh is an ancient architectural work like many other temples. The unique thing here is that the pagoda was built in the style of “Tam” (Han characters). There are 3 pagodas that are not adjacent to each other and are divided into three levels along the mountainside from low to high: Ha Pagoda, Trung Pagoda, and Thuong Pagoda.
Bich Dong Pagoda was built to integrate with the spectacular natural scenery. The image of the pagoda hidden among the rows of green giant trees makes this place more ancient and pure.
To enter the pagoda, you will follow a stone bridge made of bluestones leading to the Tam Quan gate of Bich Dong pagoda. There is a road at the foot of the mountain, paved with bricks about 55m long, the only way to reach Ha Pagoda.
Ha Pagoda was built with 5 compartments on a high platform at the foot of the mountain. The architecture of the pagoda is designed in the style of Dinh (丁- in Nom language). The roof of the pagoda including 8 roofs, has 2 curved roofs. The columns are made of one-piece, unassembled stone with a height of more than 4m. At that time, it was quite a feat to make stone pillars like this.
Entering the temple, at the top of the central hall of Tien Duong, there is a big horizontal lacquered board with the Chinese characters “Mao Co Than Thanh”. This means a very very sacred pagoda. The upper hall is a place to worship Buddha. Next are the pedestals in order from high to low to place Buddha statues, and worshiping objects such as lamps, incense burners, etc.
After visiting Ha Pagoda, you return to the yard and turn to the North to take a path of 80 stone steps around the mountainside. This is the road leading halfway up the mountain, where Trung Pagoda is located. Unlike Ha Pagoda, Trung Pagoda has a semi-roofed exterior.
This is a unique pagoda, only the door and roof of the temple are exposed, and the rest of the architecture is located in the mountain cave. The pagoda was built with three compartments to worship Buddha. On the roof of the pagoda, there are two Chinese characters “Bich Dong” which are placed at the order of Trinh Sam Lord. On the left side of Trung Pagoda is the space to worship the Earth’s mother.
The Dark Cave
After worshiping Buddha at Thuong temple, you walk up 21 more stone steps to reach Dark Cave. Above the cave door, today still hangs a large bronze bell cast by two monks Tri Kien and Tri The in 1707.
Inside the dark cave is a long space and massive monumental construction that magically appears under electric light. You will see images of fairies, dragons, phoenixes, etc., which are carved with meticulous and detailed stone. All appear in front of visitors like a petrified fairy world of creation.
To get to Thuong Pagoda, you have to step nearly 40 more stone steps along the mountainside. This is a small pagoda on the mountainside, located at the highest position, near the peak of Bich Dong mountain.
The pagoda is about 60 meters higher than the underground brick courtyard. It was built in the Southeast direction and worships the Lady Buddha. There are two shrines on either side of the pagoda, namely Tho Dia and Duc Son Than. Next to the temple, there is also a water tank called the “Cam Lo water tank” of Quan Am Bodhisattva.
From the Thuong Pagoda, you can see 5 independent mountains that look like 5 lotus petals. That is Ngu Nhac Son, including Tam Sang mountain, Gia Dinh mountain, Con Lon mountain, Dau Cau mountain, and Hang Dua mountain.
Bich Dong Pagoda Tourists Information
Bich Dong Pagoda Entrance Fee
To visit Bich Dong temple, you need to buy a ticket to visit Tam Coc – Bich Dong for 120,000 VND/adult and 60,000 VND/child.
Bich Dong Pagoda Ninh Binh Dress Code
When going to the temple, you should wear polite and discreet clothes. In addition, when visiting Bich Dong Pagoda, you will have to walk and climb a lot of steps. You should choose for yourself sports shoes or flat shoes that are comfortable.
The Best Time to visit
The best time to visit Bich Dong is around April because the weather is relatively dry at this time. Taking a boat ride to Tam Coc or Bich dong on a sunny day is the ideal way to admire the scenery.
Bich Dong is an ancient and sacred pagoda full of solemn and mysterious features. Mountains, caves, and pagodas harmonize and combine to create a unique landscape. During the visit to Tam Coc Bich Dong, if you miss Bich Dong Pagoda, it is a big pity.