The Perfume Festival is a three-month Buddhist event held in the most popular Buddhist pilgrimage site in Vietnam. It’s attended by tons of pilgrims annually.
The festival takes place in Perfume Pagoda, the country’s largest pagoda complex. Located 75 km south from the capital of Hanoi, the area is nestled in the midst of Huong Tich’s steep-sided limestone mountains. The Perfume Pagoda or Chua Huong, hides within the hilly Perfumed Traces in Ha Tay Province. Its name is said to be based on the scented spring blossoms that fill the region.
Chua Huong (Perfume Pagoda) Festival
A large complex of temples and shrines are delicately built into the mountains. The Perfume Pagoda is one of the many temples that sit on these hills. It stands 50 meters high on a majestic grotto. Visitors begin their journey via an hour long ride on a rowboat, which quietly streams by scenic caves and lovely ride paddies. They are then dropped off onto a stone path shaded by lush trees. Visitors then walk by historical shrines and climb up stone steps.
The festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar. 2020 will see the festival occur on February 8th. The celebration extends for three months.
Locals and visitors have the option to enter the caves and wish for good luck as well as a prosperous harvest. Stalactites, stalagmites, and statues are aplenty and are said to possess supernatural powers. Visitors enter the Huong Tich Cave to pray for their heart’s intentions. Those who pray to acquire wealth touch the gold or silver tree in Huong Tich cave.
The Perfume Festival, which occurs right after the even more popular Tet Festival, attracts a slew of visitors from all over. Poets and painters have enjoyed the event’s historic charm, while young couples find the festival as a perfect place to meet up. Tourists charmed by the event both foreign and local guests. Feel free to choose from any of the attractions to see at the Perfume Pagoda.
The Thiên Trù pagoda, situated amidst mountains and hills, showcase rock formations that looks similar to chefs working in the kitchen. It has therefore earned the name “heavenly kitchen”. The temple is also popular for its granite monolith known as the Thuy Tien tower.
Standing beside the Thien Tru temple is the Tien Son grotto where five granite statutes are found on the cave’s walls. Strike one of these formations and expect a khanh-like sound emanating from the structure. A “khanh” is a Vietnamese percussion instrument.
Getting to the Perfume Festival
A visit to the festival requires a day trip from Hanoi. The drive from Hanoi to the pier of Ben Duc lasts two hours. Visitors can opt to take the more scenic and romantic route via row boats on the Yen Vi River. The ride takes a mere 45 minutes and stops by Den Trinh where guests are to register and express their intentions at the shrine.