Thang Long - Hanoi

Flower festival at Phat Tich pagoda
03/02/2014 | 18:13:00
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Thousands of visitors flocked to Phat Tich pagoda in the northern province of Bac Ninh for the annual peony festival, one of the popular spring festivals in the Red River Delta.

Phat Tich pagoda, just 25km north-east of the capital, was built in 1057 on a mountain called Lan Kha during the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong (1054-72). It was reduced to ashes by French colonialists in 1948 and only restored in 1987.

When excavating the pagoda from 1949-51, archaeologists found many old stone sculptures carved with flowers and dragons, bird goddess statues from the 17th century and a piece engraved with the head of a fairy. These are now on display at the National History Museum .

A giant Buddha Amitabha statue was installed outdoor on Lan Kha mountain in 2010. The stone statue is 27m tall and weighs 3,000 tonnes. It was adapted from a similar structure from the Ly Dynasty.

Phat Tich Pagoda is associated with the legend of Tu Thuc Meeting a Fairy. In the old days, there were a lot of peonies on Lan Kha Mountain and in the pagoda. One day, a young woman visited the pagoda to see the flowers. She carelessly broke a branch from a tree and was fined by the monks. Lucky for her, a local scholar Tu Thuc also visited the pagoda and took off his coat to compensate for the broken branch. They became friends and often met at the pagoda. The woman invited Tu Thuc to visit her house. She took him to a peony forest and a cave on the mountainside. Upon entering, he saw an imperial palace with high walls and stone footsteps. She revealed that she was a fairy and they got married.

Every year, people visit the pagoda to take part in the peony festival, where they enjoy watching the flowers, listening to quan ho (love duets) and poem recitations while playing traditional games. The festival usually lasts three days.-VNA
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