The boat stopped at a small wharf, we went up to burn incense at Lien Hoa cave, the scene here is very solemn, the ancient trees and large frangipani trees have ancient shapes, full of ancient wildness, shady. The temple roof is covered with large rocks and a small courtyard covered with moss. Lien Hoa Cave near Tam Coc Ninh Binh, has a temple worshiping patriotic scholar Pham Van Nghi, nicknamed Nghia Trai, from Tam Dang commune, An Trung canton, Dai An, now Y Yen district, Nam Dinh. He was an official in the Nguyen Dynasty. Because of disagreements, when the Nguyen Dynasty compromised with the French invaders, he resigned and chose this place to retire.
He taught and wrote poetry, and his students had many talented people who went on to great careers. Among them were two famous students, Nguyen Khuyen and Tran Bich San, both of whom passed the top three scores and were both patriots. Currently, many poems by Master Pham Van Nghi still exist, poems praising the beautiful scenery and people of Hoa Lu land, one of his wonderful autographs is recorded on a stone stele.
Stone stele, called Da Ban stele: 5m high, 3m wide, on which he engraved a poem in Chinese, and on both sides there are two parallel sentences. It can be said that this is currently the largest unique stone stele in our country. The stele is a very large stone, standing tall in front of the temple door, covered with moss, but the square lines of letters are still quite clear. Unable to read the words, we all tried to touch the stele to commemorate the Sage! Our boat arrived at Luon cave, in front of the cave there are many autographs recording the activities of the Dinh and Early Le dynasties. When Lord Trinh Sam came here, he named the cave: “Xuyen Thuy Dong” and he wrote a poem engraved on a 1.55m high stele; 2.42m wide, about 4m above the water, in front of the cave entrance.
Just imagine, the width of the Sao Khe river here near Tam Coc Ninh Binh is not narrow, but the river bed completely passes through the cave. The mountain that was growing here suddenly lowered, creating small curves that looked like great natural bridges spanning the Sao Khe River, creating a breathtaking natural landscape. In the cool cave, many stalactites have strange shapes. Many boats pass through the cave, people sitting in the back boat, watching the oars of the boat in front wave glittering jade green drops of water, a strange beauty… The group of boats stretches across a stretch of river, without flags, fans, gongs or drums. but happy like a festival.
Suddenly I was daydreaming
Suddenly I was daydreaming, thinking of the warships carrying the victorious army, flags flying across the sky, Dinh Bo Linh, his tall and majestic figure, moving towards Trang An to build the Capital – Making the first Capital near Tam Coc Ninh Binh of our country! And I also saw the majestic and splendid warships of the kings and mandarins of the Early Le Dynasty returning from victory over the Northern invaders. Looking at the blue mountains, looking down into the clear turquoise water, mountain after mountain spread out the ramparts, building ramparts like an eternal and durable natural wall, blocking the enemy’s steps and sending our ancestors away.
I realized the greatness, tranquility, eternal and unshakable nature of those mountain ranges, which symbolize the resilient and indomitable qualities of the national heroes! Suddenly I remembered the verses of Poet Nguyen Dinh Thi: “Our country/ The country of those who never die/ Night and night murmuring in the sound of the earth/ The days of the past echoing about.”.
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