Thousands of domestic and foreign tourists and Buddhist dignitaries flocked to the Yen Tu Pagoda in the northern coastal province of Quang Ninh to join the Spring Festival, which officially opened on February 9, the tenth day of the first lunar month.
A destination popular with Buddhist followers, the site expects to see about 3 million visitors, compared to the 2.1 million figure of the same period last year.
One of the highlights of this year’s festival is the inaugural of the statue of King Tran Nhan Tong, which was recognised as the largest monolithic bronze statue in Vietnam by the Vietnam Book of Records.
The King reigned over the country from 1279 to 1293 and then left the throne to devote his life to Buddhism. He founded the Truc Lam School of Zen and worked to unify different Vietnamese Buddhism sects into Vietnamese Zen Buddhism.
The Vietnam Buddhist Sanga Central Committee has long observed the day King Tran Nhan Tong attained Nirvana (the first day of the 11th lunar month) as the national anniversary of Vietnamese Buddhism.
During the festival, a series of traditional rites will be held to pray for peace, happiness and blessings for the country and people.
Yen Tu mountain is located about 50km from Ha Long City. The route of the pilgrimage, which winds from the foot of the mountain to its highest peak, is almost 30km. Dong Pagoda, which sits atop the mountain’s highest peak, is more than a kilometre above sea level.
The area has beautiful natural landscape and awe-inspiring scenery, along with surrounding ancient pagodas and hermitages.
Yen Tu was listed as a special national relic site on September 27, 2012 . It has also been selected as one of the 10 most attractive spiritual destinations in Vietnam by the Vietnam Records Organisation.