Bich Dong Pagoda Ninh Binh is a place that is no longer too strange for young people who are passionate about traveling and is also a destination not to be missed for any tourist when visiting Ninh Binh. Come to this place with the phrase Tam Coc – Bich Dong. Many people mistakenly think it is a tourist destination. But in reality these two locations are completely separate. Bich Dong Pagoda still retains its ancient and pristine features. The entrance is about 2.5km apart. During the trip to visit Tam Coc, visitors can rent a bicycle to roam around Tam Coc’s ripe rice fields and majestic limestone mountains. When traveling to Ninh Binh, don’t miss this attractive place, come explore this place with us!
Bich Dong Pagoda was originally called “Bach Ngoc Thach Son Dong”, meaning a beautiful and pure stone pagoda in the deep mountains. In 1774, Lord Trinh Sam once visited this place and changed its name to what it is today
Bich Dong Pagoda is a very popular cave pagoda in Ninh Binh. Some other cave pagodas in Ninh Binh such as Bai Dinh pagoda, Dich Long pagoda, Ky Lan pagoda, Hoa Son pagoda, Canh Dieu pagoda, Hang pagoda…
The pagoda was originally founded in 1428 and is just a small temple on the top of the mountain. In 1705, two monks Tri Kien and Tri The met and became brothers. The two monks both wanted to go to many places to spread Buddhism and build temples.
Interesting experience at Bich Dong Pagoda
Bich Dong Pagoda bears the bold architecture of ancient Vietnamese pagodas. Overall, there are 3 pagodas and 3 caves with 2 dry caves and 1 water cave. In which dry caves include Bich Dong, Dark Cave halfway up the mountain, water cave is Xuyen Thuy Cave underground.
Road to the temple
The most special feature of the pagoda is the structure of the Chinese character Tam. Unlike Cong Pagoda, the incense burning space connecting the three buildings of the pagoda is completely separate. Accordingly, the structure consists of 3 separate parts: Lower Pagoda, Middle Pagoda, Upper Pagoda, arranged along the mountainside from high mountain position to low mountain position.
When visiting the pagoda, visitors will pass through a stone bridge leading to Tam Quan gate. This gate area bears the mark of ancient architecture with a 3-storey gate and a sophisticatedly designed curved tile roof. The Tam Quan gate area is also the place where most tourists check in. The painting of the countryside with a lotus pond and surrounding rocky mountains creates a poetic scene.
Going through the Tam Quan gate area, you will encounter a road at down of the mountain about 55m long with very clean tiles. Following this road you will come to the Ha pagoda area inside the Bich Dong pagoda complex in Ninh Binh. Ha pagoda built in the Northwest direction, located at down of Bich Dong mountain.
Like other pagodas, the architecture of Ha Pagoda is in the Dinh style. The horizontal part is the front hall with 5 compartments, the vertical part is the upper hall, 2 compartments have ironwood columns and tall stone columns. The trusses, horizontal beams, and vertical beams are all made of ironwood. The pagoda’s roof is two curved roofs, consisting of 8 roofs. Because the pagoda’s foundation is nearly 1 meter higher than the pagoda yard, 3 stone steps have to be erected, so the pagoda has an additional porch to create another low roof, looking from the front it looks like there are 3 roof floors.
Go through the temple porch and step through the wooden door steps to enter the front hall. High up in the middle of the front hall, there hangs a large Chinese character “Mao Co Than Thanh” which means the temple’s appearance is very sacred. Inside the statue hall is a place to worship Buddha, with pedestals from top to bottom placing statues and worship objects such as cloves, lamps…
To get to this Bich Dong pagoda area, you need to turn towards the Ha pagoda and follow 90 stone steps on the S-shaped winding mountainside, about 30 meters high between the Ha pagoda and the Trung pagoda. Tourists’ first impression of this cliff is similar to the shape of a dragon.
Up to the Central pagoda, the hollow cliff opens up as high and wide as a dragon’s mouth opens wide. The upper jaw is a stone arch on the pagoda like an awning while the lower jaw is flat surrounding the temple yard.
On the roof of the pagoda is a large painting engraved with the word “Bich Dong” in two Chinese characters. Next to this text, there are also small “Nguyen Nghiem subtitles” and “Nhat Nam Nguyen editor” autographs of Trinh Sam pagoda, the head of Nhat Nam country at that time.
The next place that you should not miss on your journey to Bich Dong Pagoda Ninh Binh is Dark Cave. To get to Dark Cave, you need to pass 21 stone steps amidst deep green forests. The first image when you enter the cave that evening is the large bronze bell cast in 1707. This bronze bell exists as an artifact to remember the contributions of two monks, Tri Kien and Tri The, to the temple. .
Even though it is called Dark Cave, the cave is still lit by electric light. To the right of the Dark cave entrance are images of three majestic stone Buddha statues. This is a symbol of eternity. In the middle of the cave is where the statue of Amitabha Buddha is placed. On the right is Manjushri Bo, on the left are Avalokitesvara Thi Kinh and Lao Tho.
- Thuong Pagoda
To get to Thuong Pagoda, you have to walk another 40 stone steps along the mountainside. Thuong Pagoda is a pagoda located on the mountainside, at the highest position, near the top of Bich Dong mountain. The pagoda is about 60 meters higher than the underground brick courtyard. The upper pagoda was built in the Southeast direction and worships Guanyin Buddha. There are two temples on both sides of the pagoda: the temple worshiping Tho Dia and worshiping Duc Son Than. Next to the pagoda there is also a water tank called Cam Lo water tank of Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.
Bich Dong Pagoda is a unique cave temple in Vietnam, nowhere else has the same earth and mountain position. Standing at Thuong Pagoda, you can have a panoramic view of the entire beautiful scenery of Bich Dong, as well as the mountains and water of Ninh Binh.