Perfume Pagoda Festival – Witness The Celebrations at This Famous Pilgrim Site of Vietnam

Situated around sixty kilometres southwest of the Hanoi city, where the Red River Delta has an abrupt end, lies one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in Vietnam, the Perfume Pagoda. It is a hugely visited place in Hanoi, Vietnam. The locals believe that this vast compound of Buddhist shrines and temples was constructed more than 200 years ago in the Huong Tich Mountains. Every year, several tourists travel to Hanoi to be a part of this longest running festival.

Perfume Pagoda Festival
Perfume Pagoda Season (Source)

The Vietnamese believe that Huong Son is a heaven where the Bodhisattva Kwan Yin is worshipped and hence, is Buddha's paradise. The Perfume Pagoda festival is said to be an ode to the temple, which is a sacred site and which enriches the spirituality of the people and empowers them to stay focused, relaxed and balanced. The temple is beautifully decorated with colourful garlands, gold and candles, and it remains the same for all three months.

Perfume Pagoda Festival 2020 Dates

Perfume Pagoda Festival is celebrated according to the lunar calendar, and it starts on the 6th day of the first month and ends at the end of the third month. Generally, it begins in January or February.

History and Faith behind Perfume Pagoda Festival

Perfume Pagoda Festival
Perfume Pagoda Festival (source)

The Perfume Pagoda Festival starts soon after the Tet Festival is over. It is also known as the Chua Huong, and it is one of the most significant pilgrimage festivals in Vietnam. It is organised on a vast scale, and visitors from all around the globe can be seen flocking around the temple during this time. One of the most important activities in this festival is to pray in the Huong Tich Cave. It is believed that those who pray here gets a son by touching the mountain of the son or gets a daughter by touching the mountain of the daughter inside this cave in the Perfume Pagoda. People also pray for wealth and prosperity in this cave by touching the silver and gold trees inside. The Vietnamese believe that this place is Buddha’s heaven and is the actual place for worshipping him.

Tips for Visitors during the Perfume Pagoda Festival

So, if you are planning to be a part of this festivity, you need to have a fair idea about the things which goes on there during this time.

  • You can get to the festival site by road or by the waterway. Also, if you wish to behold the magnificent Dragon Dance in the Trinh Pagoda, you need to go there on the sixth day of the first month of the festival.
  • The festival usually takes place through three different places, Tuyet Son, Huong Tich and Long Van.
  • The Perfume Pagoda Festival remains the most crowded from the 15th till the 20th day of the second month in the lunar calendar. This is considered to be the actual time of the main event. So, if you wish to escape the crowd, you can avoid visiting anytime during these days.
  • The way to the Trong Pagoda from the Ngoai Pagoda is crowded with visitors who are continuously coming up and down the Tich Mountain. So, be careful if you are travelling with kids or elders.
Way to Perfume Pagoda through Yen Stream
Way to Perfume Pagoda through Yen Stream (source)
  • Even if you are not so spiritual, you can still visit during the festival not only to be a part of it but to see the vast natural landscapes along with the ancient architectural wonders which are now of real value to the Vietnamese people and Vietnam, in general.
  • If you wish to experience the real natural beauty on your way to the Pagoda, take the way through the Yen Stream in which you will be rowed in on a boat by young women. You will reach the Pagoda surpassing stunning landscapes of green rice paddies which are lined to the base of the Huong Mountain.
Visiting Vietnam and not being able to learn about its cultural history will be of no use. After all, there’s a difference between a traveller and a tourist and if you consider yourself to be the former one, try visiting the country during one of its festivals. And what better way to do that than being a part of its longest running one, the Perfume Pagoda Festival?

This post was published by Anuradha Chakraborty