Yen Tu Festival
A popularsaying goes: “Even after 100 years of virtuous religious life, if youdon’t come to Yen Tu you cannot be called a true religious person”.Pilgrimage to Yen Tu Festival in respect of Buddha and sightseeing is so meaningful…
Situatedwithin the immense arched mountain range of north-eastern Vietnam, Yen TuMountain in northern coastal Quang Ninh Province bears at its peak the DongPagoda: at an altitude of 1,068m above sea level. The beauty of Yen Tu consistsin the majesty of its mountains mingling with the ancient and solemn quietnessof its pagodas, shrines and towers. Yen Tu has been a centre of Buddhism formany centuries, and is the starting point of the Buddhist sect of Truc Lam.Travellers to Yen Tu Festival to stay away from the mundane and go on areligion pilgrimage in the midst of the mighty nature.
Under the LyDynasty, Yen Tu held the Phu Van Pagoda, with Yen Ky Sinh as its warden. ButYen Tu only really became a Buddhism centre when Emperor Tran Nhan Tongsurrendered his throne to establish a Buddhist sect called Thien Truc Lam andbecame the first progenitor with the religious name Dieu Ngu Giac Hoang TranNhan Tong (1258-1308). He ordered building hundreds of constructions, large andsmall on Yen Tu Mountain for leading a religious life, sermonizing. After hisdeath, his successor, Phap Loa Dong Kien Cuong (1284 – 1330) the secondprogenitor of Thien Truc Lam, compiled a set of book “Thach that ngon ngu” andordered the building of 800 pagodas, shrines and towers with thousands of valuestatues throughout 19 years of religious life. Some famous pagodas are QuynhLam, Ho Thien. There is the third progenitor of Thien Truc Lam, Huyen Quang LyDao Tai (1254 – 1334), in the sermonizing centre of Phap Loa.
Passingthrough to the Le and Nguyen Dynasties, Yen Tu became the focal point ofVietnamese Buddhism, and was often subject to restorations. It is a meetingplace of different styles from various historic periods: visible in the many differentdesigns and decorations that ornate its constructions.
The mountainscenery and beautiful pagodas and hermitages, inspired King Tran Nhan Tong, whoreigned over the country from 1279 to 1293, to pass the throne to his son tolead the life of a Buddhist monk at Yen Tu. There, he founded the Truc Lammedication sect, making Yen Tu the country’s leading Buddhist center.
… and thefestival
Yen TuFestival commences annually on the 10th day of the first lunar month and lastsfor three months. Tens of thousands of pilgrims begin their journey to theuppermost shrine after a solemn ritual held at the base of Yen Tu Mountain.
During thefestival, the people near and far flock to Yen Tu which was regarded as theBuddhist land to show their belief and aspiration or to get rid of all sorrowsand sadness. Other go to Yen Tu to do sightseeing and to enjoy the pureatmosphere of a mountain region. Foreign visitors come to Yen Tu to witness afamous beauty spot, a mysterious tourist attraction. Many cultural andhistorical values are carefully preserved in Yen Tu, where is also home to arare ecosystem in Vietnam.
In the wideensemble of vestiges in Yen Tu, there are 11 pagodas and hundreds of shrinesand towers. One form of entertainment is to climb the peak to where the DongPagoda was built (1,068m above the sea). On the way, you will see pagodas, atower, a stream and a forest. At the top, after having burned joss-sticks, youseem to be lost in nature somewhere between the sky and the earth. When clear,you can perceive almost all of the northeast area from here.
The route ofthe pilgrimage from the foot of the mountain to the pagoda is nearly 30 km. Thehighest point of Yen Tu is Dong Pagoda, which is located 1,068 m above sealevel. You can get to Hoa Yen Pagoda at the altitude of 534m by the cable carsystem recently put into operation and will see on this peak two 700-year-oldfrangipane trees. From there, you will continue walking up stairs to pagodas ofminor note lined up along the path leading to Dong Pagoda. There you will feellike walking on clouds. If the weather is agreeable, from this summit you canadmire the dramatic landscape of the northeast of Vietnam.
The complexof historical sites and beauty spots in Yen Tu features various pagodas,shrines or stupas now appearing now disappearing under the thick foliage of theprimary show their belief, or doing away with all sorrow and sadness. Others goto Yen Tu to do sightseeing and to enjoy the pure atmosphere of a mountainregion. Foreign visitors come to Yen Tu to witness a famous beauty spot, amysterious tourist attraction. Anyone who makes all the way to the BronzePagoda feels the magnificence of Yen Tu and forests. Atop Yen Tu Mountain, onefeels like standing by the Heave Gate shrouded in white cloud. On clear daysone can have a partial view of the northeastern region…