With the country’s second most beautiful cave, Bich Dong Temple in Hoa Lu Commune, Ninh Binh Province is a must for tourists to the area located 200 kilometres to the southeast of Hanoi.
The temple was built on a limestone mountain that was formed millions of years ago and it was named in the 18th century after the beautiful white limestone which exists only in this area. The whole construction included three small temples with the first at the foot of the mountain, the second at the entrance of Bich Dong cave and the third, also the smallest, on top of the mountain, viewing the whole stunning green valley below. All three temples are made from rare wood, with tiles formed like the tail of a phoenix or the blade of the ancient weapon, seeing the construction come to life. From a distance, the temple looks like a wooden boat floating on the river.
The temple was built in the 18th century by two monks, who admired the peaceful and seductive landscape and decided to stay and build the temple for Buddhists to worship and pray for the prosperity of the country.
From the foot of the mountain, tourists have to climb dozens of stone stairs to get to the cave’s entrance, as well as the second temple. But in order to get to the third temple, tourists have to cross the cave. Inside the cave is a bronze bell made three centuries ago by the founders as well as the worship place of Buddha and the three gods in ancient belief.
Although going through a lot of reconstruction, the beautiful temples and cave make it a destination that everyone must visit once in a lifetime.
A stone lion guards the second Bich Dong temple
The third Bich Dong temple, also the smallest, on the top of the mountain - Photos: Pham Thai