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Spring pilgrims crowd largest Buddhist pagodas in Vietnam

Monday, February 07, 2022, 12:58 GMT+7
Spring pilgrims crowd largest Buddhist pagodas in Vietnam
Visitors flock to Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Thousands of people crammed into two of Vietnam's largest pagodas, Bai Dinh and Tam Chuc, in the northern region on Sunday to pray for good health and fortune as the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday came to an end.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province featured only internal basic rituals at this year's annual spring festival, with the participation of local authorities and delegations.

Visitors crowd Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitors crowd Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province, northern Vietnam, February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The Bai Dinh Pagoda's spring festival begins on the sixth day of a lunar year and continues until the end of the third lunar month.

Although a rain and cold spell lasted most of the day, Most Venerable Thich Minh Quang, vice-abbot of Bai Dinh and Tam Chuc Pagodas, stated that the festival's opening ceremony, which took place on the early morning of Sunday, was a success.

The ceremony was held early in the morning in order to avoid disrupting visitors to the pagoda.

A parade takes place along a river at Bai Dinh Pagoda, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, on February 6, 2022. Photo: Supplied

A parade takes place along a river at Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province, northern Vietnam, February 6, 2022. Photo: Supplied

According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, from 9:00 am, Bai Dinh was already crowded with visitors.

Tram tickets, stupa visits, and tour guide services were all priced the same this year, with more affordable combo packages available.

According to Most Venerable Quang, because the pagoda reopened to visitors on February 2, or the second day of the 2022 Lunar New Year, following its closure to adhere to epidemic prevention guidelines, the pagoda received a large number of visitors during the Tet holiday, peaking at approximately 6,000-7,000 guests on Saturday.

A woman prays at a prayer room at Bai Dinh Pagoda, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A woman prays in a prayer room at Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province, northern Vietnam, February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Although the number of visitors was quite large, people were spread out throughout the day and scattered across the large pagoda, helping to ensure that the temple was not as crowded as it had been previously.

Additionally, the pilgrims took precautions to avoid contracting the coronavirus. Without reminders from the management, everyone, from the elderly to small children, wore face masks.

"This year, everyone comes to the temple with excitement, joy, and peace of mind, not as concerned about the epidemic as they were two years ago," Most Venerable Quang said, implying that vaccine has helped in this situation as more than 75 percent of Vietnam's 98 million people have received at least two vaccine shots, with third-dose coverage to be complete within March.

Pilgrims wear face masks while visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Pilgrims wear face masks while visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh Province, northern Vietnam, February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The nearby Trang An Landscape Complex has also welcomed a higher number of visitors, with over 10,000 visitors and 2,000 boats operating at capacity on Saturday, the peak day.

This year, this tourist site has just rushed to complete the tunnel from the parking lot to the marina, with dedicated entrances and exits, which makes traveling orderly and safe, as visitors do not have to cross the road.

There is also a new hotspot for youngsters who are looking for eye-catching photos, as the tunnel is beautifully decorated with lights, lanterns, and two large screens that display stunning images of the tourist area. 

Visitor crowd a wharf at the Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitor crowd a wharf at the Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province, northern Vietnam, February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The number of pilgrims at Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex, Vietnam's largest Buddhist compound in northern Ha Nam Province, was slightly higher than that at Bai Dinh since this is a new attraction, with many services and breathtaking scenery, ranging from large pagodas to mountains and rivers, lake cruises, and accommodations. 

In terms of travel services, the place was run quite professionally, with clearly stated prices.

Visitors enjoy the beauty of Trang An on the boats. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitors enjoy the beauty of Trang An on the boats in Ninh Binh Province, northern Vietnam, February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Youngsters gather at the tunnel to take photos at Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Youngsters gather at the tunnel to take photos at the Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province, northern Vietnam, February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitors flock to Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex, Vietnam's largest Buddhist compound, in Ha Nam Province on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitors flock to Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex, Vietnam's largest Buddhist compound, in Ha Nam Province on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitors crowd a prayer room at Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex, Vietnam's largest Buddhist compound, in Ha Nam Province on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitors crowd a prayer room at Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex, Vietnam's largest Buddhist compound, in Ha Nam Province on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitors wear face masks while visiting Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex, Vietnam's largest Buddhist compound, in Ha Nam Province on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Visitors wear face masks while visiting Tam Chuc Pagoda Complex, Vietnam's largest Buddhist compound, in Ha Nam Province on February 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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