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The Perfume Pagoda is a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone Huong Tich mountains. It is the site of a religious festival which draws large numbers of pilgrims from across Vietnam.
The centre of the Huong Temple lies in Hương Sơn Commune, Mỹ Đức District, former Hà Tây Province (now Hanoi). The centre of this complex is the Perfume Temple, also known as Chua Trong (Inner Temple), located in Huong Tich Cave.
It is thought that the first temple was a small structure on the current site of Thien Tru which existed during the reign of Lê Thánh Tông in the 15th century. Legend claims that the site was discovered over 2000 years ago by a monk meditating in the area, who named the site after a Tibetan mountain where Lord Buddha practiced asceticism. A stele at the current temple dates the building of a terrace, stone steps and Kim Dung shrine to 1686, during the reign of Le Hy Tong, at around the same time that Chua Trong was being constructed. Over the years some of the structures were damaged and replaced. The original statues of Lord Buddha and Quan Am were cast from bronze in 1767 and replaced with the current statues in 1793. More recently, damage was done during both the French and the American wars. Both the gate and the bell tower at Thien Tru Pagoda were destroyed, the bell tower rebuilt in 1986 and the gate completed in 1994.
The many Pagodas that make up Chua Huong are spread out among the limestone hills and tropical forests in the area of Huong Mountain.
Approaching from the Day River, one will first come across Den Trinh (Presentation shrine), also known as Den Quan Lon (Shrine of High-ranking Mandarin), built to worship one of the generals of a Hung King. This large shrine has a gate with two kneeling elephant statues on each side.
Thien Tru Pagoda
Beyond Den Trinh is Thien Tru (Heaven Kitchen) Pagoda, also known as Chua Ngoai (Outer Pagoda). Here one will find Vien Cong Bao Stupa, a brick structure where Ch’an Master Vien Quang, who led the reconstruction of the pagoda, is buried. Thien Thuy stupa, a naturally occurring structure that is the result of the erosion of a rocky hill, is also nearby. Thien Tru is also home to a bell tower and Hall of the Triple Gem, last restored in the 1980s. Inside the Pagoda there is a large statue of Quan Am Nam Hai.
Giai Oan Pagoda
On the route from Thien Tru to Huong Tich cave is Giai Oan Temple, also called ‘Clearing Unjust Charges’ Pagoda. Here there is a pond called Thien Nhien Thanh Tri (Natural Blue Pond), also called Long Tuyen Well, and Giai Oan stream, with its 9 sources.
Huong Tich Cave
The center of the Chua Huong complex, Huong Tich Cave houses Chua Trong (Inner Temple). The mouth of the cave has the appearance of an open dragon’s mouth with Chu Nho characters carved in a wall at the mouth of the cave. The characters (Nam thien de nhat dong) are translated as “the foremost cave under the Southern Heavens” and the carving is dated to 1770. The words are attributed by some to the ruler of that time, Thinh Do Vuong Trinh Sam. Inside the cave there are many statues. There is a large statue of Lord Buddha, as well as one of Quan Am, both made of a green stone. Quan Am’s “left leg is stretched out and the foot lies on a lotus flower, her right leg is bent and is supported by a lotus flower with supple leaves; a hand holds a pearl.” There are also statues of Arhats and various other figures. Among the naturally occurring features of the cave are numerous stalactites and stalagmites, some of which are worn smooth from years of rubbing by visitors to the cave.
Other sites included in the Chua Huong complex are Thien Son Pagoda, Thuyet Kinh Grotto, Phat Tich Temple, and Vong Temple.
How to get to Perfume pagoda?
There are several ways for getting to this attraction from downtown Hanoi. You can book a private car with driver; take a local bus; take a bike ride; take a motorbike tour; or just seat on the back of a bike (motor-taxi)…You have many choices depending on your personal interest and budget. At vietnamcarhire.com we only provide the following options.
- Rent a private car with driver.
Car hire Perfume pagoda
The following car rental packages are only samples we design for travelers to visit Perfume pagoda from Hanoi. These packages include a private car with driver for return transfer from/to downtown Hanoi.
Hanoi car rental with driver
At Vietnam Car Hire, we offer a big variety of car types for you to explore this tourist site as well as its surroundings. Options includes economy, compact, full-size, van/minivan, SUVs, MPV, and coaches. Whether you look a 4 Seater Sedan or a 45 Seater Coach for a half day, or one day trip out of Hanoi, we can arrange the transport for you.
Booking a car for a day trip to Perfume pagoda is very simple at vietnamcarhire.com. You can browse the car rental packages above, select the package that suits your needs the most, then proceed to the booking. You can also let us know your car rental requirements by filling this form in, our car hire agent will contact you back with a free quote.
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