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Bac Giang: Spring road to Tay Yen Tu

(BGO) - One of the roads to the sacred mountain of Yen Tu, where the arduous pilgrimages from ancient times started and were prepared, is Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Complex.

I used to visit the model of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Complex in the middle of "The Pearl of the Orient in Saigon", but now have the opportunity to return to the root, Tri Yen commune whose original name is Duc La, Yen Dung district (Bac Giang province) to visit this great Vinh Nghiem landscape.

Spring road , Tay Yen Tu,  Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Complex

The Tay Yen Tu spiritual - ecological tourist area. Photo: Nguyen Huong

I read the ancient stele engraved in the 7th year of Hoang Dinh (1606) in front of the front hall with proud lines. In a meeting place of two or three rivers, the waves are abundant and winding like a silver silk ribbon. In the middle is an ancient pagoda with its own sky named Vinh Nghiem, which was ever a top landscape, to remember the history records noting the fact that King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong came here to teach meditation in 1308, and the second founder of the Truc Lam Zen sect - Phap Loa – placed the Office of the "Central Committee of the Zen Buddhist Sangha" to manage 15,000 monks and nuns nationwide.

I walked around the spacious and airy pagoda precinct with the miraculous flowers and plants on nearly three mau (each mau = 3,600sq.m), contemplated the vividly-sculpted statues of the three founders of the Truc Lam Zen sect, and touched the treasure of 3,050 woodblocks preserved here.

From this starting and gathering point - Vinh Nghiem, for hundreds of years, people and pilgrims to Tay Yen Tu (the west of Yen Tu mountain range) have seen many "rest areas" right along the road. These are ancient pagodas hidden in mountains and forests, such as those in Ben village, Kham Lang commune; Dam Tri, Luc Son commune (Luc Nam district); and Am Vai, Nam Duong commune (Luc Ngan district).

Spring road , Tay Yen Tu,  Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Complex

Enjoying the Tay Yen Tu Festival.

I have also visited these pagodas several times. And each time I enjoyed the feelings of those who have seen and touched the stone altar - a recently-recognised national treasure in Kham Lang Pagoda with sculptures of dragons, water, daisies and lotus.

A path to the sacred mountain of Yen Tu from the West in the past only brought people to the cliff at the foot of the ancient mountain. Climbing up the steep mountain slope of more than 1,000 meters in height completely depended on the will, determination and strength of persons who want to reach the sacred peak.

In order to help pilgrims find it easier to climb to Yen Tu from the West, Bac Giang province has made a straight road from Bac Giang city, through Vinh Nghiem, to the foot of Tay Yen Tu, with its control centre located in Tuan Mau commune, Son Dong district, welcoming and guiding pilgrims to the sacred place. A central square spans a hilly area ofDong Thong village with parks, walking paths, parking lots, flower gardens, monuments, symbols, and decorative items of "art installation"... All surround a big hall designed in the shape of a majestic, solid medieval citadel gate.

The path to the top of the sacred mountain rising high among rocks and forest trees is right behind the square. Three ancient pagodas were restored and embellished but elegantly decorated at the foot, slope and top of the mountain. They are Ha (Lower) Pagoda, Trung (Middle) Pagoda and Thuong (Upper) Pagoda, forming three pillars for the cable car system up to the peak with clouds covering Yen Ky Sinh stone statue and Dong Pagoda.

This spring, riding on National Highway 1, now an expressway, a few dozen kilometers from the capital of Hanoi to Bac Giang city, going on to the gathering – starting point at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Complex, running additional dozens of kilometers along a newly-upgraded road splendid landscapes on both sides that are new or being embellished such as Mo Stream, Nuoc Vang Stream, Ba Tia Waterfall and Khe Ro, we reach the foot of the sacred mountain. In less than half a day, we are present at the "Top of the Universe", where national hero Nguyen Trai used to spend a week or even a month to get it.

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Dao Ngoc Du

Spring road , Tay Yen Tu, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Complex
 
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