Huong Pagoda is well-known for its charming natural landscape and Buddhist religious beliefs of the Vietnamese. The unique feature of the pagoda is that it contains a cluster of temples, pagodas, and caves embraced by majestic mountains and green forests. All of these things build a harmonious combination of natural and human-made architecture. Given the imposing mountains and tranquil rivers by Mother Nature, the locals have work miracles to make them sparkling and vibrant.
Although the culture of Buddhist religious beliefs has appeared in many parts around the world, it has left a deep impression to every Vietnamese citizen when heading to Huong Pagoda. Thus, they return to the pagoda every year, especially during the festival, to incense and pray for luck and peace.
Due to the attractive beauty of the spot, the Kings of Vietnam and renowned poets have repeatedly praised the destination. In 1770, when Lord Trinh Sam paid a visit to the pagoda, he carved fives words on the door of Huong Tich cave “Nam Thien De Nhat Dong” (The Most Beautiful Cave of Vietnam) and “Ky Son Tu Thuy” (Strange and Beautiful Mountain). Besides, the site is mentioned in several pieces of writing of famous poets comprising Chu Manh Trinh, Cao Ba Quat, Xuan Dieu, Che Lan Vien, and Ho Xuan Huong.
When to Visit the Huong Pagoda Festival
The festival takes place once a year, lasting for three months from 6th January to the end of March according to the lunar calendar. However, the official period is from 15th January to 18th February.
What to Do During the Festival
Each time, the festival welcomes a great deal of the native and foreigners, so there are a lot of activities for you to join, including both traditional and entertaining things.
Incensing and praying for a new year
According to the tradition of Vietnamese people, Tet holidays are an excellent occasion to go to temples and pagodas, incense and pray for a successful and prosperous year. Farmers wish to have a bumper crop while traders hope to receive big contracts and luck. For those who want to have a son, rub the head of Cau Mountain. Meanwhile, rubbing the head of Co Mountain will increase the chance of having a baby girl. It is just an old concept of the native.
Participating in Leisure Activities
In addition to traditional rituals, there are a lot of activities to do in the festival, consisting of rowing, mountain climbing, Chau van singing, and Cheo singing (Chau van and Cheo are kinds of Vietnamese folk music).
Tourists can take a boat trip to contemplate the scenic landscapes as the boat slowly drifts on the river. You will feel comfortable and peaceful. If you come on the main days of the festival, you will have an opportunity to watch a competition of boat race on Yen stream with the cheer from the audience. It has become a must-have part of the festival.
After leaving the boat, tourists might conquer steps leading to Huong Tich Cave and Trong pagoda as a way to train your health and admire the alluring scenery. There are also cable cars for you to come to the spots without having to walk.
Singing Folk Songs
As soon as landing your feet on this holy land or reaching the pier, you will hear the Vietnamese folk melodies, for example, Cheo and Xam. The rhythms will leave you a deep impression of Vietnamese traditional music.
Discovering the Cuisine of the Site
Numerous unique dishes in Huong pagoda are waiting for you to try. A great ingredient there is Rau sang (Melientha suavis - a kind of edible vegetable) which can be processed to different tasty dishes, from soup to dessert. This plant is grown only in Huong Son area. Moreover, if you come to the pagoda in the summertime, you can try crispy and sour apricot.
Besides, dishes made from goats, cows, horses, and pigs are worth-trying. For vegans, they can try various vegan food. Although there are numerous restaurants in the area, you should ask the prices before ordering.