Four members of my family visited Bai Dinh pagoda near Tam Coc Ninh Binh on Sunday afternoon. In February, the sky is clear, the air is cool, the road to the temple is winding, not too wide, but because it is deserted, I feel extremely spacious. On both sides of the road, rows of Bodhi trees are changing leaves with a silver and nostalgic beauty. This road is more like the movie scenes I’ve seen about the chase where the fugitive is always alone, rather than the road to famous scenic spots.
Yet people say that these days, spiritual tourist areas like Bai Dinh pagoda are very crowded. Approaching the east gate of the temple, the gate was locked and silent. Both gates were locked and silent. Where has everyone gone? After finding a hotel for the whole family to rest and have lunch, I asked the housekeeping lady. Are there any customers at Bai Dinh Pagoda this season? She happily answered. There’s still a lot of people.
It’s crowded on Sunday
It’s crowded on Sunday, just not as crowded as it was during Tet. After one o’clock in the afternoon, the whole family walked towards the main gate of the temple following the sign. When we put the car into the parking lot, we saw a forest of large and small tourist vehicles lining up. The whole family went into the area to buy tickets to visit the temple. Only then did I see that there were a lot of people. So crowded but not noisy at all. Perhaps, pilgrims or visitors, in front of the majesty of the pagoda, keep to themselves. In the whole family, no one felt tired even after walking through the long hallway where 500 Arhat statues were placed.
It is known that these Arhat statues were carved by the skillful hands of Ninh Van, Hoa Lu near Tam Coc Ninh Binh, and stonemasons. As we slowly walked up, step by step, we occasionally met a group of foreigners coming down. It seemed like they were just like us, very excited about visiting the largest pagoda in Vietnam. Tam The Tower, Bao Thien Tower, Bell Tower, wind chime corridor… just take your time and go, it will be over by afternoon. My mother kept mumbling all the way home: “You’re not that good.” She is a Buddhist and has visited many large and small pagodas in the Red River Delta, but this is her first time going to Bai Dinh pagoda.
She praised the talented person
She praised the talented person for building such a large pagoda, creating airy walkways, casting big bells, and sculpting beautiful statues. She expressed regret, “Knowing that my mother left a long time ago”. After leaving Bai Dinh pagoda, while it was still light, my family decided to visit the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, a few kilometers away towards Trang An near Tam Coc Ninh Binh, still on the Bo De road that we passed when arriving at the pagoda. And only now do I see the value of a quiet path. Rarely is there a road connecting two heritage areas that has a natural look like the Bodhi road connecting Bai Dinh and Trang An. In some other localities, certainly, restaurants, shops, and services have occupied all the empty spaces along the road, so there is no room left for the trees to freely change their leaves like this.
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