The Perfume pagoda is a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone ranges of Huong Tich mountains. This religious festival site draws large numbers of pilgrims from all over Vietnam.
The Perfume pagoda trip is to see local pilgrimage spirits
The centre of the Huong Temple lies in Huong Son Commune, My Duc District, around 70 km southwest of Hanoi center. The centre of this complex is the Perfume Temple which is a cave in a karst formation.
Huge numbers of pilgrims pour to the site during Perfume Pagoda festival, which begins in the middle of the first lunar month (often Feb in Gregory calendar) and lasts until the middle of the third one (April in Gregory calendar). They comes for the wish of happiness and prosperity of the year. At this very festival time, a wide range of traditional cultural activities is organized at many places at the complex. Perfume pagoda then is not only a religious site, but a great sight-seeing spot in Vietnam as well.
The attractions of Perfume Pagoda trip for foreigners are peace on the boat trip in a rowing sampan along the river across rice farm and limestone mountains, the beauty of the pagoda built 300 years ago, the trekking along trails from the river to the cave temple, and the spiritual atmosphere of local pilgrims along your trip.
The pilgrimage of the local people happens yearly in spring end. People from Hanoi and surrounding areas will all rush to here, and they will do the same journey like any others. First is the sampan along the canal across rice farms. They will stop at some temple along the canal for some praying before arriving a pagoda. The praying at the pagoda is important and you will see the crowd is out of your imagination here.
After the praying at the pagoda, the pilgrimage starts. That’s a walking aling a trail leading to a temple in a cave with stalagtiles and stalagmiles. There are many temples along the walk and the local also stops for some more praying. After some more praying at the cave pagoda, they all return by the same way
The trip is really a walking tour after a relaxing rowing boat trip. Traveller can have opportunity to meet many people along the hiking, and have interacton with them. It’s really amazing to touch the local in such a way.